A FORMER midlands campaign manager for the Conservative Party will be sentenced next week after he admitted possession of indecent images of children.

Mark Andrew Lerigo, 49, a former Conservative Party campaign manager and press officer, pleaded guilty to the charges on July 24.

He is due to be sentenced on August 21.

Lerigo pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to distributing indecent images of children (IIOC), three counts of making IIOC, one count of possessing extreme pornography involving animals, one count of possessing prohibited images of children and one count of publishing an obscene article.

National Crime Agency officers arrested Lerigo in November 2018.

As well as the images, investigators found a WhatsApp chat with another offender discussing the sexual abuse of children.

Lerigo had an iPad which contained a total of 1,005 illegal images including 146 category A (the most serious) abuse pictures of children, and 258 images of extreme pornography.

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He also had a laptop which contained evidence of a total of 414 illegal images – including 59 category A images.

The Conservative Party confirmed last month that Lerigo had been suspended from the party with immediate effect, pending the outcome of judicial proceedings.

Graham Ellis, NCA operations manager, said: “Offenders who view indecent images are fuelling more and more sexual abuse of children.

“Every time an abuse image is shared or viewed the child is revictimised.

“Child sexual abuse is a priority threat for the NCA.

“It doesn’t matter what walk of life an offender is from, we will do everything in our power to catch them.”