A police officer has been sentenced after child abuse images were discovered on his laptop and phone.
Thomas Blant was found to have committed the offences in January 2020, when he was serving as an officer in Kent.
The 38-year-old was arrested after the National Crime Agency (NCA) detected a website hosting ‘child sexual abuse material’ had been accessed from his house.
Officers from the NCA conducted a raid at Blant’s home in Ashford, Kent and uncovered the 21 indecent images, after which the 38-year-old admitted to viewing child abuse images online.
According to BBC News, Blant had tried to delete 17 images from his laptop, with NCA officers uncovering a further four indecent images of children on one of his old mobile phones. The officer had reportedly used software in an attempt to ‘disguise and hide’ the sites he had been visiting on the dark web.
Blant, who previously pleaded guilty to two charges of making illegal images of children, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday, October 6.
Judge Philip Statman sentenced the father of two to 12 months behind bars, suspended for two years, as well as putting him on the sex offenders register for 10 years. Blant has also been dismissed from the police force after serving as a Kent Police constable for six years, Kent Online reports.
Addressing Blant, Statman said: ‘You thought you would never be caught because of the protection you had installed on your computer. You have a predilection for young girls. You must understand your actions and your appearance in court has put your wife through hell. She is clearly a caring and loving mother.’
The judge added that many in Blant’s community would now hold him in ‘contempt because of the ignominy attached to these crimes’.
Det Ch Supt Jon Armory, Kent Police’s head of professional standards, said it is ‘abhorrent that Blant has committed these offences, particularly while working as a police officer.’
He added: ‘His actions helped fuel the demand for children to be exploited which is a complete betrayal of his duty to protect the vulnerable.’
Blant moved out of his family home following his arrest and has since lived in Southend, during which time he has only been able to visit his children through controlled visitation rights.
The near-two-year delay in getting Blant’s case to court is thought to have been caused by delays in identifying and categorising the secret images of children aged between 10 and 12 years, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111