A POSTAL worker spent more than a decade accessing images of child abuse online, a court has heard.

When police examined Brett Johnson's computer equipment they found more than 6,500 indecent images of girls as young as six, along with evidence he had been actively searching for material involving children.

Swansea Crown Court heard his arrest for possession of the images has put a "huge strain" on his marriage.

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, said police executed a search warrant at Johnson's home in Pembroke Dock in June last year and seized 22 computers, hard drives, and memory sticks.

A subsequent examination found a total 6,571 deleted indecent images of children on five of the pieces of equipment.

The images were of girls aged between six and 10, and were created - downloaded - between 2005 and 2018.

The prosecutor said digital investigation officers also found peer-to-peer file sharing programmes and deletion software on the devices, while analysis of Google's search history showed the defendant had been looking for material about underage girls and "pre-teens".

Mr Pulling said there was "abundant evidence" that the machines had been used to "visit websites hosting child abuse images".

Johnson, aged 46, of Finch Close, Pembroke Dock, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts making indecent photographs of children when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

He has no previous convictions.

Dan Griffiths, for Johnson, said the defendant had worked for Royal Mail for 25 years prior to resigning, and that his arrest and prosecution had "put a huge strain on his relationship with his wife".

Judge Keith Thomas told the defendant the offences he had committed were serious because the images showed "real children being abused for your sexual gratification".

He said it was about time Johnson admitted he had a problem with an attraction to young children.

Judge Thomas said despite the high volume of images involved he was prepared to go along with the recommendation of a probation report and not impose a custodial sentence.

Johnson was made the subject of a two-year community order with a rehabilitation course, and a five-year sexual harm prevention order. He will also be a registered sex offender for the next five years.