“Everyone will rightly be horrified that the MoJ has decided to go soft on paedophiles”
According to the stats obtained by The Sun, 2,967 sickos were convicted of having vile videos and pictures but just 562 ended up being given prison sentences.
Another 1,106 were given suspended jail sentences and 596 were given community punishments.
An additional 25 were fined and 28 got a conditional discharge.
But, 382 were escaped with a caution – meaning they did not even attend court.
The rest were “otherwise dealt with”, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.
David Spencer, of the Centre for Crime Prevention, said he was shocked to learn about the figures.
He told The Sun: “Everyone will rightly be horrified that the MoJ has decided to go soft on paedophiles in this way.
“It’s time for the MoJ to ensure everyone caught viewing child abuse images end up where they belong. In a prison.”
Crime experts believe viewing the sick images can serve as a “gateway” that can eventually lead to sex attacks against children.
Mark Bridger, who brutally killed five-year-old April Jones, was found to have an extensive collection of child abuse images on his computer.
Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was murdered by pervert Roy Whiting in 2000, was furious to learn about the MoJ’s figures.
She told the publication: “It’s an indefensible betrayal of our children.”