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A Belgian man last week week pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children while on a visit to Manchester.

According to a spokeswoman for Manchester Magistrates Court, where Tim Verrydt appeared on Monday 10 January, the 23-year-old of Kappellestraat, Mol, Belgium, owned up to 21 separate charges. The majority of these related to possession of indecent images of children (most being contrary to s160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988).

The downloads had taken place the previous week on 5 January, while he was staying at the Britannia Airport Hotel on Palatine Road, Northenden, initially leading to speculation that the hotel actively monitors its Wi-Fi network for unlawful content.

We asked Britannia Hotels whether this went on and, apart from suggesting that access to porn might be blocked on their network, they would offer no comment.

According to Manchester Police, however, the lesson of this case would appear to be not to ascribe to hi-tech snooping what can as well be explained by individual naivety.

A spokeswoman for the GMP told us that Verrydt was using his laptop quite openly in the hotel bar. Another guest happened to notice the nature of the content being downloaded and police officers were called to attend.

Following his court appearance earlier this week, Verrydt will appear before the Crown Court for sentencing on 31 January. ®

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