Three men, including a naval seamen who served in Iraq, have admitted downloading pornographic images of children from the internet.
The court heard how thousands of child images were downloaded
Newcastle Crown Court heard how they were trapped as part of an international crackdown on child porn, called Operation Ore.
One man, who had 35,000 indecent images, was spared jail because he has cancer.
The court heard how Christopher Carey, 24, who is now studying at South Tyneside College to upgrade his Merchant Navy officer status, was serving at sea when police swooped on his mother's house in Hazelrigg, Newcastle, in October 2002.
Caroline Goodwin, prosecuting, told the court almost 100 images were found on two of Carey's computers.
The court heard how Carey was due to return to the Gulf on 27 March to serve in the Iraq war, but stayed in Britain to enter his guilty pleas at court in April.
Miss Goodwin told the court how another of Carey's computers was seized from his grandmother's home, containing 75 photographs.
Sentencing Carey, Judge Beatrice Bolton said: "You have demonstrated what I would call an unhealthy interest in this material."
Carey, of Melness Rd, Hazelrigg, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to two charges of making indecent images of children between August and September last year.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing 85 indecent images of young children in October last year.
He was given a three-year community rehabilitation order with a condition he attends a sex offender treatment programme.
He was ordered to pay £648 court costs and must register as a sex offender for five years.
Two other men were also ordered to attend the probation service-run programme and ordered to register as sex offenders for five years.
Dennis Dyer, 73, also of Newcastle, admitted stockpiling more than 35,000 child porn images, but escaped jail because he has cancer.
He pleaded guilty to 13 charges of downloading and possessing indecent images and was sentenced, four weeks after a cancer operation.
Married Michael Boyd, 44, from Ashington, pleaded guilty to four charges of possessing child porn on his computer at the home he shares with his wife.
During the hearing, Judge Beatrice Bolton highlighted how new laws, allowing charges to be brought against people who subscribe to child porn websites, should be seriously considered by Parliament.