A CONVICTED sex offender was using colouring books and brain games to help control his urges, a court heard.

Daniel Thomas was before Swindon Crown Court little more than a year after he was jailed for nine months for sending sordid chatroom messages to what he thought were underage girls.

Further interrogation of the devices seized when he was arrested for those offences revealed the 29-year-old had sent a girl, 11, instructions on how to masturbate, shared indecent images of children online and had child sex abuse images saved.

But after hearing he had stayed out of trouble since being released from prison last November, was working with the probation service and had developed strategies to keep himself busy – including filling up colouring books – the judge spared him an immediate spell in custody.

Judge Jason Taylor QC sentenced Thomas to two years imprisonment suspended for two years, gave him a six-month curfew and ordered he complete the Horizon sex offenders’ programme.

“You will well understand that if you commit any further offences you will be going straight to prison,” the judge said. "Do you understand that? This is your last chance."

Prosecutor Mark Ashley had earlier told the court Thomas was first in trouble in 2016 for having indecent images of children. He was given a suspended sentence and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

Three years later he was back before the courts after being snared by undercover officers patrolling web chatrooms for paedophiles.

At the time, the judge knew that police were yet to interrogate fully the man’s electronic devices.

When the data was downloaded it showed Thomas had sent vile messages to a girl two months shy of her 12th birthday encouraging her to perform a sex act upon herself. He gave her detailed instructions after asking if she was alone. He sent her pictures of his privates. The girl was believed to be a real child, rather than an undercover police officer or member of a vigilante group.

Chat logs showed he had shared 16 indecent images in category B and C with other paedophiles in three different online conversations.

Also on his devices were five indecent images of children in category B, nine category C images and extreme pornographic images of animals.

He was arrested by the police on November 21 last year, just two days after he was released from prison.

Thomas, of Cheyney Walk, Westbury, admitted attempting to incite a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity, distribution of indecent images, making indecent images and possession of extreme pornography.

Richard Williams, defending, said the latest offences pre-dated his conviction in 2019.

Since being released from prison he had made good progress both with the probation service and on his own: “He has himself put in place or tried to put in place strategies to try and stop him being tempted and to try and keep himself busy.”

Those strategies included doing colouring books and playing simple brain games in order to keep his mind occupied. He helped his grandparents around the house and was looking for work.

His devices were ordered to be forfeit and destroyed.