A NAVAL nurse is today behind bars after being caught with thousands of indecent photographs of children on his computer.

Anthony Byrne, of Thames Drive, Fareham, pleaded guilty to a total of 23 offences relating to the distribution and possession of indecent images of youngsters.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how the Falklands veteran had 2,229 images of young children stored on his computer and laptop and took part in “disgusting” and “obscene” conversations in online chatrooms.

In mitigation Stephen Clayton told the court that the 57-year-old, who served in the Royal Navy as a nurse and was now teaching nursing, had been under a lot of financial and personal stress.

Byrne was sentenced to 18 months in prison and will be put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years. He was also disqualified from working with children.

Judge Gareth Cowling said: “It is a tragedy to see a man like you with no previous convictions, who held down a good career, standing in the dock facing charges such as these.

“But it is an even greater tragedy that the children depicted in these sort of images have been abused in that sort of way.”