Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court how David Hemsley's offending was brought to light after police searched his property on October 18, 2016.
Officers confiscated two USB sticks and two laptop computers from the 52-year-old at this time, and a forensic examination was subsequently carried out.
Ms Quinney said: "He was found to have 232 category A images, 38 category B images, 428 category C images and 17 images of extreme pornography.
"He had 122 prohibited images."
Category A images, the most serious of the three categories, are defined as those which show children being raped.
Prohibited images refer to cartoons depicting children abused, while extreme pornography is defined as images or videos which show a human involved in a sex act with an animal.
"The defendant was interviewed. He told police he had been looking at indecent images for the past 10 years.
"He stopped about five years ago, but said he had started looking at images involving girls aged seven about three months before he was caught," continued Ms Quinney.
Hemsley of Carr Road, Deepcar admitted to downloading indecent images of children in Categories A-C, to downloading extreme pornography as well as prohibited images at an earlier hearing.
Defending, Ian Goldsack, told the court how Hemsley's life had begun to unravel as a result of his offending.
He said: "The relationship with his partner has now ended. The reason for that is as a result of these offences."
Mr Goldsack explained how Hemsley had been having contact with his partner's young nieces, and she was asked to choose between them and Hemsley, after their parents were made aware of his offending.
Hemsley's partner subsequently ended their relationship.
Judge Robert Moore sentenced Hemsley to a three-year community order, with a requirement to complete up to 90-days in a group treatment programme for sex offenders.
"For these images to exist, a child has been through abuse and someone has photographed or videoed that because someone wanted to see it," said Judge Moore, adding: "People like you cause children to be abused.
"People like you are effectively at the sidelines, cheering along for this sort of thing to happen."
Judge Moore also made Hemsley the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for a period of 15-years; telling him he was taking the decision not to pass a custodial sentence because he believes he stands a better chance of getting the 'right type of help' he needs to rehabilitate himself outside of prison.
He said: "The general public think judges should just lock you up and throw away the key, because they think you are sick and perverted and that this is the sort of thing they see in the papers day-in-and-day-out.
"The law doesn't allow me to follow guidelines which see me locking you up for more than a few months, which runs the risk of this continuing, and maybe getting worse."