A man who claimed he downloaded indecent images of babies and children to try to trap paedophiles is facing jail.
Nicholas Ferguson admitted several offences at Inverness Sheriff Court on Tuesday.
Sheriff Sara Matheson heard that Ferguson sent screenshots from an obscene video to an Elgin man he suspected could be an abuser.
The Moray man then reported it to police after being engaged in sexually explicit online conversations with Ferguson who used his own name in February last year.
During them, Ferguson said he had “done stuff with children”.
Fiscal depute David Morton said Ferguson, 31, was traced to an address in Inverness and a laptop and phone were seized.
During the police interview, Ferguson told officers he was “hoping to try to lure people into admitting things in the hope of finding predators”.
Ferguson was arrested and charged but released on bail in April, 2019. On August 30, 2019, Ferguson was filmed on CCTV in a city centre takeaway, physically assaulting a boy by pushing him to the side of the head.
This was also in breach of a special bail condition not to have any contact with children aged under 16. Another was not to possess an internet-enabled device.
A further mobile phone was taken by the police and during 2019, his electronic equipment was analaysed.
Experts discovered he was using social media to send or receive indecent videos and images.
A total of 494 images were recovered from one device, with a third of them being of the most obscene type.
Also 165 videos were found and most of them were in the same category.
The court heard Ferguson used a cloud storage based in New Zealand and images and videos were recovered from there, depicting extreme sexual activity involving babies and young children.
Further interrogation of another device belonging to Ferguson and obtained in an Inverness shop discovered 129 images and 53 videos created whilst he was on bail, between September, 2019 and December 2019.
Again most were in the highest category of depravity.
Ferguson, of St Ninian’s Drive, Inverness pleaded guilty to assault, two breaches of bail, downloading, possessing and distributing indecent images and making an indecent communication.
He was immediately placed on the Sex Offender’s Register, and had sentence deferred until January 19 for a background report.
His bail was continued.
Defence solicitor advocate Shahid Latif said his client had no previous convictions and would reserve his comments until January.