A PHOTOGRAPHER from the Borders who who offered cash in exchange for illegal images of boys has been jailed.

Malcolm Porter from Peeblesshire regularly volunteered and worked at many mountain biking events across the Borders as he preyed on youngsters.

Carlisle Crown Court heard 24-year-old Porter was brought to justice after police searched his city university student accommodation.

The seizure of computer equipment and a phone revealed a catalogue of child sex offences committed over many months.

Porter was sentenced on Thursday having admitted 15 separate charges.

Peter Gilmour, prosecuting, said Porter had run his own company, photographing competitors at mountain biking events, which often included children. Porter "compiled a list of contacts" and used social media to message young boys with a view to obtaining lewd pictures.

"He would sometimes offer amounts of money in exchange for such images," said Mr Gilmour.

When his Carlisle address was searched, in late 2015, three laptops, a mobile phone and two hard drives were recovered.

More than 1,700 indecent photographs were found, 300 classed in category A - the most serious.

"Some of the images involved children as young as one," Mr Gilmour said.

Porter also used social media to obtain and share illegal images.

In addition, he encouraged a 13-year-old boy to engage, online, in a lewd act.

Porter made no comment when quizzed by police. He later admitted nine counts of making an indecent photograph of a child; five illegal image distribution charges; and one offence of attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity.

Paul Tweddle, defending, said Porter, of Burnside, Eddleston, was a man of previous good character.

His business was no longer running and that he had graduated from university and impressed people who had provided supportive references.

But Porter had a "dark side", Mr Tweddle conceded, and "clearly he had been living some sort of sexual fantasy online".

This had led to his involvement in the "despicable and degrading images".

A 28-month jail term was imposed by Judge Peter Davies, who said: "You contacted young boys who you thought would be vulnerable and interested, and you entered into a series of discussions with 13, 14 and 15-year-old boys which discussed in graphic detail... sexual activity you would be inclined to embark upon with them."

Porter must sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years, abide by the terms of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.