A PAEDOPHILE who worked in a charity shop has been sentenced after being convicted of possessing indecent images of children - just six days before his son is due to appear in court for similar crimes.

Thomas Oliver had been found guilty of being in possession of hundreds of images. On September 22 last year his house was searched after a catalogue of sexual allegations were made against him by a child.

A jury cleared the 68-year-old of buggery, engaging in sexual activity with a child, rape of a child and indecent assault on a male after the seven-day trial which was held at Manchester Crown Court on July 1. A majority verdict found Thomas Oliver guilty, however, of possessing the photographs.

More than 1,000 images, ranging in severity up to level five, the most graphic, belonging to his son, Matthew Oliver, aged 27, were also found during the search of their home at Wednesbury Avenue, Great Sankey.

Matthew pleaded guilty at Warrington Crown Court earlier this month and will be sentenced to 14 counts of making indecent images and one count of possessing images on Monday.

A relative of the child who made allegations against retired miner Thomas Oliver described son Matthew, whose ambition was to be in the police force, as strange who was always locked away in his room with his pet snakes and computer.

On Tuesday, at Chester Crown Court, widower Thomas Oliver was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years and was given a three-year supervision order to complete the Northumbria Sex Offender programme. The programme runs for 160 hours and consists of sessions once or twice a week to reduce sex offending.

Simeon Vaughan Evans, defending, said that Oliver senior accepted the punishment the court was going to hand down before the judge gave his sentence.

Judge Stephen Clarke said: “The court takes offences of this nature very seriously. Although they aren’t the worst level- they were level one, the children are being exploited and those who choose to acquire them are playing their part in that trade and making profit in the worst way possible.”

Thomas Oliver had retired from working as a miner after being signed off sick and had enjoyed volunteering at St Rocco’s Hospice shop in Hood Manor.

The family of the child spoke in disgust about the lenient punishment he received.

One relative said: “He is evil. It doesn’t make him less of a monster what is it going to take to make them do something?”

Another family member said: “I looked up to him. Tom always seemed to be there if there was anything you ever needed. The betrayal I felt when it all came out was just devastating.

“I thought that he would have to sign the register for life. The system really stinks.”