ACCORDING to the NSPCC, almost 10 children a week reported sexual abuse in Wiltshire last year.

Across our region, reports are 44 percent up on five years ago.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be horrified by the revelations.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why a growing number of degenerates are evidently emboldened to commit such horrible crimes.

I daresay there’s a reason, but I’m only an ordinary person and not a clever one such as a politician, senior judge or similarly high-powered official.

Completely flummoxed, I thought I’d have a read of some Adver back issues in search of clues, but that just left me even more bewildered.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t see any connection between what I was reading and this horrible category of crime which blights the lives of victims.

For example, I read about a man who in 2010 was caught with more than 100,000 images and videos, each of which represented a child’s life being wrecked for the sick pleasure of living sewage.

He was set free and within five months began assembling what eventually blossomed into a collection of a million images and videos whose subject matter included child rape.

When the law finally caught up with him again, he was given a suspended sentence.

There was also a bloke who exulted in the online nickname Pervyman, and whose collection included 17 pictures and videos officially classified as in the worst category.

He received a suspended a sentence, as did a man who looked up horrible images of child abuse in spite of having already served a two-and-a-half-year term for molesting young girls and viewing other images.

That man told police officers that the images he viewed in his latest round of offending were of poorer quality than some he had seen earlier.

Another court case involved a former parish councillor - and vigorous campaigner for faster broadband - whose collection included a film of a girl aged between eight an 10 being sexually assaulted, and who possessed fantasy fiction detailing child abuse.

Unlike many other such offenders appearing in Swindon’s courts, he wasn’t freed with a suspended sentence.

He was freed with a community order.

A man who sent despicable images and messages to what he thought were children aged 13 and 14, but were in fact members of an online group of so-called paedophile hunters, was another occupant of a Swindon dock.

He was freed with a suspended sentence - and the judge made sure to criticise the paedophile hunters for live-streaming their visit to the family home.

A suspended sentence was handed down to a man described in court as having an almost obsessive desire to collect vile images.

He managed to amass more than 280 images and videos before he was caught.

The children in the videos were described as visibly distressed, and one of the sequences was 13 minutes long.

A file in his collection was labelled: “She feels pain.”

As I’ve already explained, I have absolutely no idea why a growing number of our most depraved and soulless criminals apparently have no hesitation in behaving as they do.

Clearly there can be no connection between anything I’ve read in our back issues and the frightening situation revealed by the NSPCC.

If there were, we can rest assured that the people in overall charge of the justice system would make some significant changes as a matter of immense urgency.

It’s not as if those wise and important people are indifferent to the suffering of the vulnerable.