A former teacher from Suffolk has received a two year suspended sentence after more than 2,000 indecent images of children were found on his laptop and hard drive following a police raid.

Andrew Matthews, 46, of Darby Road, Beccles, had pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of a child and one charge of attempting to arrange the sexual exploitation of a child before his sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court.

The court heard that Matthews had been chatting to a man over Skype, in December 2016, he believed lived in Gambia.

Prosecuting, Nicola May said: “There was a discussion about how a child could be persuaded to pose for naked pictures.”

In one conversation Matthews said that he would pay for an apartment and offered to come out to the Gambia.

The court heard one message said: “If I come, I could meet one.”

After an indecent image of a child was posted to the chatroom on June 12, 2017, police traced Matthews’ IP address and conducted a raid on his home the next day, discovering a laptop and hard drive containing thousands of indecent images of children.

The court heard they contained six category A still images and one category A moving image – the most serious category. Police also unearthed 66 category B still images, one category B moving image and 2,143 category C still images The pictures were downloaded between February 2012 and June 2017.

In mitigation, the court heard Matthews had been in contact with The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing sexual abuse of children, to seek help to change his ways.

Sentencing Matthews, Judge Martyn Levett said he was concerned the 46-year-old had suggested taking “the next step”.

“To me this is beginning to sound like a person with all the hallmarks of a recidivist with an insatiable desire for sexual images of children,” he said.

“I have come to the conclusion that you have a interest of a sexual nature in young children and you do have a clear intention to obtain more and more images for your own sexual gratification.”

Judge Levett also handed Matthews a 50-day sexual rehabilitation requirement and put him under a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.