A REPTILE sanctuary boss who admitted having a sexual relationship with an underage student has been given a month to rehome his final animals.

Appearing before Swindon Crown Court yesterday morning, Andrew Browne pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, taking and making indecent photographs of a child and possession of extreme animal pornography.

The 53-year-old, of Eastrop, Highworth, who set up Swindon Reptile Rescue, was said to have embarked on a relationship with a then 15-year-old girl in 2012. The relationship continued after her 16th birthday.

In front of a packed courtroom, Browne admitted possession of 364 indecent images of children in category A, the most serious category and which includes depiction of child rape. He had 104 indecent images in category B and 7,482 in category C.

Judge Peter Crabtree adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report but warned Browne of his likely fate: “These are serious offences, the first is extremely serious. The starting point is a substantial period in custody.”

Browne was granted bail after the court heard Browne was still trying to rehome a number of animals and hoped to speak to his sick father.

He is due back before Swindon Crown Court on February 14.

The Swindon Reptile Rescue was founded in 2001. According to its website, the sanctuary is currently home to 350 animals. They include a 16ft python and tarantulas.