A CHURCH organist who took hundreds of screenshots of children from DVDs he bought on Amazon has been spared jail for making indecent images.

David Wickens, 82, of Ock Street, Abingdon, had already admitted two counts of making indecent images and one of possessing prohibited images of a child.

Oxford Crown Court heard at his sentencing on Thursday how the churchman had legally bought a number of DVDs on Amazon worldwide, movies which largely dated from the 1960s and 1970s.

Wickens then illegally took screenshots of the films and of depictions of children, considered indecent, before uploading them to electronic devices.

Police only learned of the images being uploaded, the court heard, because of detection software that he had to use after he was convicted of making indecent images in 2013, when he was made subject to a community order.

After his arrest on November 15 last year he told police at interview that although he was interested in children he likened his attraction to ‘the same as sculptors'.’

In mitigation his defence barrister Lyall Thompson said that his client was ‘remorseful’ for what he had done and that Wickens had no intention of having any physical contact with children.

Sentencing, Judge Maria Lamb said: “It beggars belief that you found yourself back before the courts again having been subject to a community order.

"To say you thought this may have been an acceptable way to go about pursuing your interest, I think is preposterous.

“What you were doing was committing a criminal offence, you were breaking the laws which exist to safeguard children.”

He was made subject to a community order for 36 months to include 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement and participation in the Horizon programme.

He must also pay court costs of £200, a victim surcharge and sign the sex offenders register.