A MET police worker and a Bromsgrove man who discussed the sexual abuse of children on Twitter were told by a judge they should be “utterly ashamed” of themselves as they avoided jail.

Matthew Seekings, aged 46, of Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, who was a control room supervisor in Hendon for the largest UK police force, and co-defendant Michael Kent, aged 58, of Bromsgrove, spoke to each other and others who have not been identified on the social media platform about sexually abusing children over a period of six years.

During their Twitter conversations, around 4,000 indecent images of children were shared between April 11 2015 and June 12 2021, Birmingham Crown Court heard as the pair were sentenced on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Timothy Harrington said their conversations were “shocking, repulsive and alarming” and also included “vile” racism about black children as well as claims they had themselves committed sexual offences against children.

The pair shared images of girls in their mid-teens as well as pre-pubescent children and described to each other what they would like to do to them, Mr Harrington told the court.

It was Twitter itself which alerted the National Crime Agency (NCA) to the conversations, a move that was commended by Judge Richard Bond.

After the NCA was alerted, Kent and Seekings were arrested.

Kent told police after his arrest in July 2021 that the conversations were just “fantasy chat”, Mr Harrington said.

In a police interview in May 2022, he expressed regret that he “allowed himself to get drawn into these conversations”.

Seekings pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent images of children and one count of publishing an obscene article, while Kent admitted six offences related to indecent or prohibited images of children.

Defending Seekings, Jay Nutkins said his client had lost everything and was now living with his father and had a job that paid half of what he was earning in his police role, which he resigned from.

Defending Kent, Rebecca Da Silva said her client wanted to apologise “profusely” to the victims, the court and his family.

Judge Bond said he rejected “entirely” the defendants’ claims that neither of them had a sexual interest in children as he sentenced them to a three-year community order instead of sending them to prison.

Addressing both defendants, Judge Bond said: “You both need to realise that the children in these images are all victims of sexual abuse that will remain with them for many years.

“You should both be utterly ashamed and embarrassed by your behaviour. The conversations about sexually abusing children were simply disgusting.

“It is not surprising that your families have ostracised you both.”

Explaining that a custodial sentence would not address their “urges”, Judge Bond said it was “imperative” that both defendants took part in a sexual offender treatment programme.

As well the community order, the judge said the pair must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and 60 rehabilitation activity days and subjected them to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

They were also ordered to pay costs of £585 within 28 days.