Ian Worthington, from near Cannock, was arrested in November 2020 after it was identified he had uploaded child sexual abuse material.
Investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) found the images on the dark web – having been uploaded from his home near Cannock.
And it was traced as far as to a device belonging to an Australian sex offender who was jailed for 22 years in 2015, an agency spokesman said.
Worthington, aged 52, had his house searched and officers seized a number of devices – including a phone and laptop – which were examined. And he had used a number of dark web hidden service forums in an effort to ensure his activity remained anonymous.
He was charged with sexual assault of a child under 13 by touching, making 4,500 Category A images, 6,500 Category B images and 10,000 Category C images. Among these were 135 Category B and 140 Category C images showing a child being sexually assaulted by Worthington and there was evidence which suggested they had been distributed to other paedophiles online.
And he was also charged with distributing eight Cat B images and six Cat C images – both of which were distributed to Australia. He pleaded guilty to all the offences at Stafford Crown Court on May 20 and was sentenced to eight years and eight months at the same court.
NCA operations manager Hazel Stewart said: "Online abuse material cannot exist without the real-world exploitation of children. As this case shows, there is a clear link between offenders seeking out such material and committing sexual abuse themselves.
"We have wide-ranging capabilities to identify the most dangerous offenders who use the dark web in an attempt to remain anonymous. We will stop at nothing to ensure they face justice, and to protect children from exploitation."