Indecent photographs of children are less likely to be detected since the move away from film because fewer images are sent to high-street printers, warns Bonusprint.

Bonusprint managing director Anthony Ward told Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine that spotting such cases ? and referring them to the authorities ? is ?very rare?.

Ward explained: ?It was more common in the film world. People doing these sort of images just keep it all at home ? they can print at home.?

Bonusprint, which is one of the UK?s largest photo processing firms, reports indecent photographs to the authorities around once a year.

Ward was speaking two days after Dr Marcus Phillips, a tutor at Sheffield University, was sentenced to 150 hours community service after Bonusprint alerted the authorities over photographs he had taken of two girls.

Sheffield Crown Court confirmed to AP that Phillips pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent photographs.

Bonusprint?s MD declined to comment on the case. But, speaking in general terms, Ward told us: ?We have a legal and moral responsibility when we see images we are not sure about. We will always bring to the attention of the authorities any dubious image that we deem to be inappropriate.?

Phillips, 38, landed in court after submitting the digital images to Bonusprint?s website.

Phillips had reportedly shot the ?artistic nude shots? as part of a part-time business specialising in transforming images of people into ?ethereal? images of fairies.

The parents of the two girls, aged 10-12, had apparently given their consent, were present most of the time and never complained, according to press reports of the court case.

Judge Lawler QC told the court on Tuesday: ?You always acted perfectly properly and their parents were law-abiding, sensible people who cared for their children.

?What is clear is that you had no base motive, no sexual motive and there was not any question of deriving sexual gratification.?

Phillips now plans to focus on ?plant and nature photography?, according to his website.

The photographer?s name has been added to the sex offenders register, where it will remain for five years. This is done automatically, according to the court office.

However, the judge made it clear that Phillips will not have to attend a sex offenders programme.

? AP will be looking at the issues that have arisen from this story more fully in a future issue