A COURT judge has slammed contractors outsourced by police to investigate child sex abuse images for ‘unacceptable’ delays, as long as six months.

Judge Michael Gledhill QC said that the third party company should have their contract ‘taken away from them and given to somebody who can do the work.’

He made the comments while presiding over a sentencing hearing for Edward Hinchliffe, who had already admitted breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

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Prosecutors at Oxford Crown Court asked for the case to be delayed yesterday while the 74-year-old of Ormond Road, Wantage’s computer equipment was analysed by a company for alleged indecent images.

Jonathan Stone, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that the queue for devices to downloaded images can be as long as six months but the case would take three months if expedited.

Judge Gledhill said: “It’s not acceptable. It’s really not acceptable (for) the company that has been given the contract to do the work to say we have not got the resources it’s going to take us three months, whatever it is.

“Then the contract should be taken away from them and given to somebody who can do the work.

“It’s just not good enough, it’s a very standard exercise and the officer needs time to look at the images, the CPS to make other charges.”

He adjourned the case until November 30 where Hinchliffe will appear again.

The latest remarks comes almost two years after this newspaper revealed that a surge in paedophiles downloading banned images of children had led to police having to out-source its investigations to other firms just to keep up.

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During a sentencing hearing at the same court in November 2018 for the case of Martin Kilgariff, Judge Peter Ross warned that some such cases were taking years just to make it to Oxford’s courts because of the rise.