Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 18:24 UK

Lottery win blamed by Norwich man for sex offences

Carl Gardner
Gardner was sentenced to more than four years in prison

A convicted sex offender who admitted running a paedophile ring via mobile phones blamed winning the lottery for his actions, a court heard.

Carl Gardner, 30, from Coleburn Road in Norwich, was sentenced to three years and four months when he appeared at Norwich Crown Court.

Gardner pleaded guilty to five child sex offences at an earlier hearing.

His solicitor, Michael Clare, said: "He lost control of his life when he won £50,000 on the lottery."

Police said Gardner, who won the lottery prize three years ago, used some of the cash to buy mobile phones and computer equipment.

He was caught after a chatroom website told police about child abuse content.

Mr Clare said Gardner was on a sex offenders' programme and was known in the area, which had led to a lot of verbal abuse.

"He realises he has a problem and wants help," he said.

Gardner admitted one count of possessing indecent photographs of children, one of possessing extremely pornographic images of children, two of making indecent photographs of a child and one of failing to comply to the requirements of the sex offender register.

Internet chatroom

Prosecutor Malcolm Robbins said Gardner was a registered sex offender who had one caution for an offence. He was also given a community order in 2006 for making indecent images.

As well as the jail sentence, Gardner was put on the sex offenders register and disqualified from working with children.

Norfolk Police said it was the first case it had been involved in where mobile phones had been used to distribute illegal images.

Nothing was suspected until police were told child abuse was a topic of discussion Gardner had with others on an internet chatroom.

Details passed to police included a phone number which corresponded with contact details held on the sex offenders register.

Eight other people across the UK have been arrested as a result of the inquiry and police said more were still under investigation.

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