A 59-YEAR-OLD man from Galashiels caught with more than 500 indecent images of children as young as five has been placed on supervision for one year and ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work as an alternative to custody.

Selkirk Sheriff Court was told police found the haul on four USB sticks and a laptop belonging to Richard Noble, after searching his home in Abbotsford Road.

One-hundred-and-fifty-one of the images were described as "accessible", with 378 "inaccessible" which meant they had been deleted.

Most were defined as Category C, and all featured children aged between five and 14.

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The court heard Noble was living with his wife at the time of his arrest, but the couple – who were going through a divorce – have since split.

Noble pleaded guilty to possession of the images between September 2018 and May 2021.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said his client – who was a first offender – had been "candid and upfront at what had been going on" and his life had been turned upside down since his arrest.

He added that Noble had lost all his associates and had little prospect of employment.

Sheriff Peter Paterson said the community payback order was an alternative to custody and made him subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act for the next five years.