A MAN who became the centre of a major missing appeal in February has appeared in court for child sex offences.

Neil Allen, 41, was found with hauls of pornographic pictures and videos which involved young children and animals.

There were 647 Category C, 70 Category B and 49 Category A images of children aged between 9 and 14, and two prohibited images of a child.

Allen was also in possession of four extreme pornographic images, including videos of bestiality, with the longest video lasting approximately 40 minutes.

Police had seized and examined seven of Allen’s devices following a warrant executed at his home address in Leigh Road, Wimborne, on July 22, 2021.

The examinations revealed Allen had searched for pornography involving children, and had made use of a software to conceal his searches and downloads.

He was arrested, and in his first police interview, the defendant admitted he viewed animal pornography but didn’t recall downloading anything involving children.

In a later voluntary interview, Allen accepted he had the images of children, but said he had been “low at the time” and it wasn’t his “usual thing”.

Allen was charged with three counts of making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child, one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image.

He was also charged with possession of a Class B drug, after officers found 3g of cannabis in a television cabinet while executing the warrant at his home.

The defendant failed to attend a first hearing at Poole Magistrates’ Court on February 14.

He was reported missing that day, and was only located 24 days later, on March 7, following a major search operation across land, air and water.

Allen then plead guilty to the charges against him at Poole Magistrates’ Court on March 8.

He appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court for sentencing on Monday, April 8.

Prosecutor Alexandra Bull said some of Allen’s devices had not yet been examined, but she did not request an adjournment as it was not known how long this would take.

Mitigating, Robert Griffiths said the downloading of indecent images was “out of character” for Allen and his client was remorseful.

He said: “He got into a spiral of depression at the time, and was drinking heavily.

“It started it seems looking at adult pornography, and moved on to images of children - it’s a pattern that is familiar in this court.”

The court also heard how the defendant had no previous convictions.

Judge William Mousley KC noted a pre-sentencing report which assessed Allen as being a low risk of re-offending.

Allen was handed a three-year long community order, with requirements to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and 50 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention order lasting five years.