A NURSERY worker who filmed himself sexually abusing two young brothers has been jailed for eight years.

A judge branded Alexander Mortimer, 28, a danger to children and made an order preventing him from ever working with youngsters again.

Mortimer was caught after intelligence led police to raid his home in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, and seize computer and phone equipment. They found 17,967 photos and 582 video clips, some of which had been made by Mortimer.

Sentencing him at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lady Stacey told him the images were vile.

She continued: "I will not describe them any further. People who get access to this sort of thing through the internet have to accept responsibility for the abuse by whoever took the photographs of the children in the first place."

Lady Stacey said: "You are an intelligent person and you have to take responsibility for what you have done. I have to take note of the planning you did and the work you did."

The judge ruled that after serving his prison sentence, Mortimer, who pled guilty at an earlier hearing, would remain under "very robust supervision" for seven years.

The mother of one of the children who had been in Mortimer's care reacted angrily to the sentence. Donna Cumming, 42, removed her daughter from the council-run nursery as soon as she heard about the police investigation in January. She said: "I think this is terrible – eight years for doing that to two kids? For destroying the lives of two boys and the lives of their families? It's not right."

She added: "They've said he'll be supervised when he gets out of prison, but someone can't monitor him 24 hours a day. They can't see what he's thinking or what he's planning. As far as I'm concerned, lock him up and throw away the key."

Advocate depute Alison Di Rollo, prosecuting, told how Mortimer dropped out of an electronics college course and began working in the nursery. He got to know the boys' mother and grandmother and began to help look after them, sometimes taking them on trips.

During such trips he would take them to the toilet and take photographs of them. He also recorded himself molesting the boys, then aged two and three.

When questioned by police, he claimed he was writing essays on child abuse and may have inadvertently accessed some websites as part of his research.

The officers were suspicious when they noticed the abuser in some of the photographs was wearing a watch like Mortimer's. T-shirts and a jacket seen in the photos were found at his home.

Mortimer suffers from eczema and a slight deformity of one finger, said Ms Di Rollo. Forensic anthropologist Professor Susan Black compared photos of Mortimer's hands with images from his computer and found a number of similarities.

Ms Di Rollo told the court that the boys' mother and grandmother felt "angry, upset and guilty," for allowing him contact with the children.

"The offences have also had a wider impact in the community, generating significant anxiety among parents of children who have been in contact with, or in the care of, the accused," she added.

South Lanarkshire Council has set up support for those affected.

Defence QC Brian McConnachie said Mortimer had co-operated with the investigation by providing police with passwords to access the computer files, and had spared the brothers from having to give evidence.

The lawyer told how Mortimer seemed addicted to the internet and had lost hundreds of pounds through online gambling.

He then turned to viewing pornography and the material involving children was "an escalation" of that, it was claimed.

Mr McConnachie said that although it was no excuse, Mortimer had himself been abused and, as a result of what he told police, another man was facing charges.

Mr McConnachie said: "there is very little or nothing I am going to be able to say which will in any way diminish the serious nature of the offences."