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Southwold: Carpenter took photos of young girls on beach

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 February 2013

A carpenter took photos of girls on Southwold beach

A carpenter took photos of girls on Southwold beach

Archant

A MAN who took close-up pictures of young girls on the beach at Southwold has received a suspended jail sentence.

Matthew Bence, 43, a carpenter, from Wareside, Hertfordshire, had his head in his hands in the dock at St Albans Crown Court as prosecutor Colin Banham outlined a catalogue of offences.

He said Bence came to the attention of the police after they received intelligence about communications on Yahoo messenger.

Officers executed a search warrant at his home on 27 April last year and seized a laptop and camera.

Bence was out, but returned later, saying that any chat on line was “fantasy”.

The Toshiba laptop was examined and the police found 203 images at Level 1 (the least serious level), 11 at Level 3 and nine at Level 4 (the second most serious).

When his camera was analysed, 125 Level 1 images of girls aged between five and nine in swimming costumes and bikinis were discovered, taken on the beach at Southwold on October 2, 2011.

When questioned, he said he had transferred the images from Southwold beach to his computer but had then deleted them.

Bence, previously of Kingham Road, Wareside, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to eight counts of making (downloading) indecent images of children, possessing indecent images of children, four of distributing indecent images of children, taking indecent pictures of a child, possessing extreme pornography, three of publishing obscene articles and cultivating two cannabis plants.

Defence barrister David Claydon said he had no relevant previous convictions and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

“He expresses his shock and disgust at the way he behaved.”

Mr Claydon said Bence, who has been married for 20 years, has sought help from the Lucy Faithfull foundation – a child abuse charity.

Judge Stephen Gullick passed an eight-week jail sentence suspended for two years. He must abide by a two-year community order and will be supervised on a Sex Offender Treatment Programme.

He told Bence: “The order is to try to ensure you don’t commit offences and to protect children from you.”

After nine months of, for no particular reason, referring to our unborn first child as “he” (“how’s he doing in there?” etc), it came to me to make the big reveal to my wife in the moments immediately after the birth, writes Elliot Furniss, from Ipswich.

Emergency services are at the scene of a crash in a north Essex village this morning.

Engineers worked through the night to restore power to households across Suffolk and north Essex after the region was battered by winds of over 70mph.

The Angel Hotel, that closed this week pending a licence review, will reopen today, Friday January 19.

Commuters using Greater Anglia trains in Suffolk and Essex are facing further disruption after the region’s rail network was brought to its knees by yesterday’s storm.

A show celebrating the career of the most successful folk rock duos of all time is coming to the Ipswich Regent.

The mother of a selfless Suffolk fundraiser is continuing her daughter’s fight to persuade women and girls to have smear tests in her honour.

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