DISGRACED politician Simon Thomas has been spared jail after he admitted making hundreds of indecent images of children.

The former Plaid Cymru AM for Powys was given a 26 week jail sentence, suspended for two years, at Mold Law Courts today.

The 54-year-old, who had also been an MP, must also sign the sex offenders register for seven years and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, also for seven years, means any computers Thomas owns must be able to retain the history of internet use and be made available to police on request. He will also have to attend a rehabilitation course and pay £85 costs and a £115 surcharge.He had admitted making more than 500 indecent photographs of children and more than 70 films at an earlier appearance before magistrates in Aberystwyth where he lives.

Thomas was arrested in July when he quit as the Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales. He had first been elected as an AM in 2011 and was the party’s MP for Ceredigion from 2000 until 2005. He also resigned from Plaid Cymru following his arrested.

He previously admitted to three counts of making indecent images of children, including 94 still and 56 moving images of the most serious category A when he appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates.

He also pleaded guilty to guilty to making 87 still images and 16 moving images of category B, and 354 still and five moving images of children of category C.

The offences took place on or before July 23 this year at his home at Penparcau, Aberystwyth.

Making images can refer to downloading and creating computer copies.

Children’s charity NSPCC Cymru/Wales said, following Thomas’ sentencing, he had helped create a demand for such images.

A spokesman said: "Within these images are young victims of abuse and by possessing them, Thomas has fuelled the demand in this awful trade. It is not a victimless crime.

"His actions betrayed the trust placed in him by the communities he represented at Cardiff Bay and Westminster and it’s now extremely important that he receives appropriate rehabilitation as part of his sentence.

"Ridding images like these from the internet must be a priority for tech companies, government and law enforcement."

Thomas has been replaced as the AM for Mid and West Wales by Helen Mary Jones who was Plaid’s second choice regional candidate at the 2016 Welsh Assembly election.