A SINGING teacher from Hereford who downloaded indecent images of children told police the habit was "an itch that needed to be scratched".

Police found more than 300 images after searching the home of Roger Langford last February.

The 53-year-old, who has worked at Hereford College of Arts, was forced to stop his work as a singing coach in schools.

He later admitted what he had done to members of a Herefordshire choir, saying work is leaving him "quicker than lemmings jumping off a cliff".

Langford, of Hinton Road in South Wye, Hereford, was handed a three-year community order at Hereford Crown Court last Friday after admitting ten offences of making indecent images of a child.

Prosecutor Anthony Cartin said the defendant made full admissions to police.

"He said it was like an itch that needed scratching," Mr Cartin told the court.

"Like visual bulimia. He would look and then puke."

The offences came to light when officers at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre tracked Langford down after he paid to register with a website called Indian Showgirls.

This website allowed access to another website where the indecent images were viewed.

Mr Cartin said one of the images was the most serious Category A, with four at Category B and 312 Category C.

The court heard how Langford, who has no previous convictions, has since gone online to seek help for his compulsion.

Alexander Small, defending, said his client was "atypical" in the way he has dealt with his problem, given he has taken steps to address his behaviour.

"His life has changed completely," he said.

"He had to stop working in schools where he visited as a peripatetic singing coach. He has also worked with those who suffer with Alzheimers and Parkinson's. He has approached this and his demons in a mature manner."

He said the defendant loved being a member of choirs, adding his conviction has "deprived others of his abilities".

Langford told his wife about the reason for the police visit. He also read a statement to a choir he attends, saying: "I cannot say how sorry I am. Work is leaving me quicker than lemmings jumping off a cliff.

"I've been seeking help with a charity. In time, I hope to make amends."

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said it must have been obvious to Langford that those in the photos were real children, adding the defendant "contributed to their demand".

Alongside the three-year community order was a supervision requirement for the same period.

He was also made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Hereford College of Arts says it has not been made aware of any concerns that are connected to its students.

"Hereford College of Arts takes the safeguarding of its students very seriously and acts accordingly with the relevant safeguarding agencies," said the college in a statement.