A MAN who downloaded child abuse images was reported to the police by his sister after he failed to heed a previous warning she gave him.

Graham Plant, 57, of West Close, Shap, was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today for five offences.

These were of making almost 1,000 indecent photographs of children, between August, 2008, and October of 2015; and two counts of possessing prohibited images of youngsters.

Prosecutor Kim Whittlestone said the offences came to light after Plant was admitted to hospital, and while his sister helped out at his home.

Plant, the prosecutor said, had been given a warning by her two years earlier - and advised to seek help - following the discovery of an indecent image.

But during his hospital stay, several devices were discovered by his sister and her husband. "They felt concerned and reported the matter to police," said Miss Whittlestone.

Seventy-four images classed in category A, the most serious, were found, along with 60 category B and 778 category C. The "majority" featured children aged seven to 12 years.

Plant, a man of previous good character, made "partial admissions" when interviewed by police, later entering guilty pleas.

David Traynor, defending, said Plant was a man of "low functioning intellect" who was supported by agencies and his family.

Mr Traynor insisted: "This behaviour is unlikely to be repeated in the future"

Having heard mitigation, Recorder Louise Brandon said she faced a "difficult sentencing exercise". If jailed, Plant would not get the help he needed, she concluded, and would lose relatives' support.

A 12-month prison term was suspended for two years, and Plant must complete rehabilitation. He must sign the sex offenders' register and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order, each for 10 years.

Recorder Brandon said: "Mr Plant, we are at the moment facing an epidemic of child pornography, primarily due to the easier access to it over the internet.

"It is not a victim-less crime. Real children are depicted in these images and they are suffering real abuse, suffering damaging and lasting effects throughout their lives."