A husband who turned to child porn after his marriage ended was caught when mechanics found an indecent picture in the boot of his car.
Peter Wingham, 60, from Lancaster Drive, Market Rasen admitted having more than 500 indecent images of children on his computer, Lincoln Crown Court heard.
Judge Michael Heath told Wingham he was “extremely fortunate” to not be going to jail and handed him a three year community order.
Wingham - who the court heard was “very respected” in the equestrian business - had been using his computer when police executed a search warrant at his home in December 2011.
The court was told Wingham admitted what he had done straight away, when a police officer knocked on his door and asked him if he had a computer.
Prosecuting Justin Wigoder said Wingham replied to the officer: “Yes its upstairs, it’s on. I better come clean and explain. I have some stuff on it now.”
When the officer asked if it was children Wingham answered “yes”.
Police found 543 indecent images of children on the computer which included some moving videos.
The court heard police had been led to Wingham after mechanics found a printed off indecent photo in his car boot.
Of the 543 images, 368 were at level one, the lowest seriousness, 72 at level two, eight at level three and 91 at level four. No images at the most serious category of level five were found.
Wingham admitted what he had done during police interview and told officers he was “devastated”.
Wingham said he had stopped looking at the images for a period but had then relapsed.
Mr Wigoder told the court Wingham said: “It’s going to change my life but I’ve got to say I’ve been expecting the knock at the door.”
Wingham had no previous convictions. He pleaded guilty to having 543 indecent photographs of children in December 2011, two charges of making an indecent image of a child in 2008 and again in 2010. He also pleaded guilty to six charges of making an indecent video of a child in November and December 2011.
As part of his sentence, Wingham will be under supervision of a probation officer and has to complete a community sex offenders treatment course. He was also given a five-year sexual offences prevention order.
Sentencing Judge Heath told him: “It appears when your marriage broke up you turned for sexual satisfaction to adult pornography. You then began to download child pornography.”