A RETIRED teacher has been jailed for owning and distributing indecent images and movies of children.

Ian Bell, 66, from Corfe Mullen, was given a 28-month prison sentence at Bournemouth Crown Court after admitting 20 offences.

Detectives were alerted in April to Bell’s online activities and the force’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) launched an investigation. Computers and electronic equipment were later seized from Bell’s home.

Thousands of shocking indecent images and movies of children were identified by the POLIT team. Further examination revealed Bell had also distributed this material to other paedophiles.

On release from prison, Bell, who taught chemistry at Corfe Hills School from 2001 to 2008 and then as a supply teacher until 2011, will be given a Sex Offenders’ Prevention Order and placed on the sex offenders’ register.

A spokesperson for Borough of Poole Said: “Borough of Poole confirms that Mr Ian Bell is a former member of teaching staff at Corfe Hills School. 

"Mr Bell was employed as a teacher at the school between 2001 and 2008. He was subsequently employed as a supply teacher at the school between 2008 and 2011. Recruitment procedures for people employed in schools include previous employment references and a criminal record check. 

"We can confirm that appropriate checks were made at the time of Mr Bell’s appointment. We can also confirm that there is no suggestion that pupils in Poole schools have been directly involved in any of the matters for which Mr Bell has been convicted.”

Acting Detective Superintendent Chris Naughton, the force’s director of public protection, said: “We are using technology to combat offenders who use the internet as a weapon to attack and abuse children.

“POLIT work closely with similar units both in the UK and abroad to identify and bring to justice those criminals who use cyberspace to sexually exploit children.

“If you commit these crimes we will find you, arrest you and bring you to justice.

“I also urge those abusing children to seek professional help from either their GP or another professional organisation such as Stop it Now! or the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.”

The Paedophile Online Investigation Team can be contacted on 101.