A TEACHER has admitted downloading hundreds of pornographic images and videos of young children.

Darren Lee Tattersall, who taught students with profound learning disabilities, said he had an addiction to pornography, visiting explicit websites two or three times a week.

The 33-year-old watched around 50 indecent videos featuring Japanese schoolgirls and had saved up to 300 images before he was arrested at the college where he worked.

He has since been suspended from his post.

Tattersall, of Warwick Drive, Earby pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children while living in Shepherd Street, Darwen.

Blackburn Magistrates Court heard how the teacher, who has an eight-month-old baby, did not get any gratification out of underdeveloped girls but was looking for the developed schoolgirls when he visited the site.

Ian Dacre, prosecuting, said police received information of a subscriber to a Japanese e-mail address linked to people with a sexual interest in children.

As a result, Tattersall was arrested at Bury College, where he was the team leader of the two-year New Horizons course for students who have learning difficulties and or disabilities.

He helped them work towards individual targets, including communication, participation in group work, teams, creative and practical activities and appropriate independence skills.

The department even scooped a national prize last year when it installed a SensoryPod designed to create a controlled and calm environment for those with learning difficulties.

When Tattersall was interviewed, he admitted searching the internet and finding a site that featured Japanese schoolgirls. He also confessed to viewing 40 to 50 videos on the site and being a member for over a year.

“He had saved 200 to 300 images,” said Mr Dacre. “He was asked if he thought he had done anything wrong and said some of the things on the site, such as bestiality, were a ‘bit dodgy’. He maintained he had never viewed that kind of thing.”

Imran Hussain, defending, said Tattersall did not dispute the facts.

He added that Tattersall had been suspended from his job.

“He and his partner have an eight-month-old child and there are going to be far-reaching implications aside from the punishment the courts are going to impose,” said Mr Hussain. “He is deeply ashamed by what he has done.”

Speaking after the hearing Bury College principal Charlie Deane said: “An individual was charged with a criminal offence. We have been reliably informed by the police that the offence is not connected to college activities.

“We immediately suspended the individual and carried out our own thorough internal investigation which confirmed this.

“The safeguarding of our learners is of paramount importance to us and we are confident that our policies and procedures are highly effective in safeguarding our students.”

Tattersall will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on September 10.