Ex-teaching assistant jailed for child porn

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A former teaching assistant caught with more than 21,000 indecent images of children was jailed for nearly eight years today.













Syd Beg, 54, admitted downloading the pictures in Glasgow between January 2000 and January 2010.



He also pleaded guilty to using lewd and indecent behaviour towards a four-year-old girl last year.



Beg was snared as part of Operation Alba, a Scotland-wide drive aimed at cracking down on internet child abusers.



He admitted the offences at an earlier Sheriff Court hearing, but his case was sent to the High Court, where the sentencing powers are tougher.



Beg was jailed for seven years and 10 months when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh today. He was also told he will be supervised for five years upon his release from prison.



Speaking after the sentence was passed, Lesley Thomson, area procurator fiscal for Glasgow, said: "As a classroom assistant, Syd Beg held a position of great trust - a trust that he completely failed to keep.



"Today he has been held to account for his crimes and no longer poses any threat to young people.



"Syd Beg was apprehended as part of Operation Alba, a national initiative involving prosecutors working in our Glasgow Area Sexual Offences Unit and the National Sexual Crimes Unit, alongside the police.



"It is thanks to their joint efforts that he was apprehended before he could do any more harm, and that an early plea of guilty was secured which spared children the ordeal of giving evidence in court.



"Although today's verdict cannot undo the suffering that Syd Beg has caused, I do hope that all those affected take some comfort from the fact that he has been brought to justice."



Operation Alba was unveiled by police chiefs in October last year, with the aim of officers adopting a more "pro-active" approach than ever before to catching child abusers.



It stemmed in part from the work carried out in relation to Operation Algebra, which led to the conviction in Scotland last year of eight members of a major paedophile network.



Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, of Lothian and Borders Police and the spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland on child protection, said today: "Operation Alba demonstrates that there is no hiding place for those who attack and abuse our children.



"Protecting our children is a priority for the Scottish police service and we will use all our skills and commitment to detect those involved in online child abuse. We use the very technology they exploit to bring offenders to justice.



"There is no stereotypical child abuser - they come from all walks of life, all professions, all ages and can be married with children of their own. Often they have had no previous contact with the authorities.



"Every contact via the internet leaves a trail which we will follow to identify offenders and rescue children from harm."