Leeds Crown Court heard that Philip Eden, 49, had more than 4,000 indecent images of children, the majority of which featured children under the age of ten being sexually abused, in his possession. Some the films and images were less than a year old.

Eden, of Geary Drive, Alverthorpe, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to 21 charges of possession of indecent photographs of children, some of which were graded at levels four and five, the two most serious categories of offending.

The former sportsman, who played for the Wheldon Road club between 1994 and 1996, was arrested and computers were taken from his home. The arrest came after police received intelligence regarding his offending and executed a search warrant at his home on 6th December 2012.

Christopher Morton, defending, said Eden would lose his job as a technical housing officer at Wakefield and District Housing, where he has worked for 23 years, if sent to prison and that Eden carried out the offences while suffering from depression following a relationship breakdown with his partner.

Eden, who also played for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats between 1982 and 1994, was jailed for 16 months by judge Sally Cahill QC who told Eden “The amount of pornography in relation to children in your possession I view as being enormous.”

After the hearing, Detective Constable John Higgins, of West Yorkshire Police’s abusive images unit, said: “Philip Eden had a vast collection of images depicting children being abused. West Yorkshire Police will always robustly investigate any individuals who are thought to be in possession of any such material.”

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