NORTH YORKSHIRE, U.K.—One might make the case—and several religious right websites have—that perverts and other types of criminals are "birds of a feather"... but burglars in North Yorkshire County, about 100 miles south of the Scottish border, recently proved themselves to be just as moral as their fellow Brits when it comes to child porn.
The crooks hit Richard Coverdale's home in the town of Redcar on August 19, 2008, and among other items stolen was Coverdale's laptop... which, the thieves soon found, contained 13 child porn images and 65 movies, some hardcore, some soft, featuring underage kids. They also found emails indicating that Coverdale had corresponded with, among other kids, a 14-year-old girl while pretending to be a 14-year-old boy named "Danny," and had even sent the girl a video of himself masturbating.
So what did the crooks do? Why, they turned the laptop in to the North Yorkshire police, of course!
"Whilst they were carrying out an offense themselves," noted acting Detective Sgt. Chris Stone, "it is commendable that they did the right thing and this in turn has helped bring a serious offender to justice."
Coverdale eventually pled guilty before Judge Brian Forster QC to eight counts of "making indecent images" and one of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child. He received a sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison, in part because of his prior record—he had previously been convicted of arson for setting fire to five houses in one night, and check forgery—and in part because the girl to whom he had sent the video told police that she "felt degraded, humiliated and had since harmed herself."
Coverdale was also banned from working with children for the rest of his life, and will be issued a "sexual offences prevention order," similar to an American offender being placed on the Sex Offender Registry.
The two crooks were let off with 12-month "community orders," similar to an American court's order of community service.