Evidence from a cell phone has been used for the first time to convict a person of possession and making a copy of objectionable material.

Hastings man Michael Lawrence Worsnop, 29, was found to have 154 pictures of child sexual abuse on his cell phone.

He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 17 months in prison by Judge Bridget Mackintosh at the Napier District Court today.

The Department of Internal Affairs was notified in July 2012 that Worsnop had placed an advertisement on a dating website seeking young girls for sexual contact. The ad contained two images of young underage girls, partially naked in sexualised poses.

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Community Safety Manager, Steve O'Brien said Worsnop's erratic employment and regularly switching of accommodation made him difficult to contact but inspectors eventually found him living in a caravan in an orchard in Hawkes Bay.

"It helps us enormously when telephone companies help us track online offenders," he said.

"Holding these people to account is a team effort often involving local or international agencies. And we have the expertise to gather the evidence, despite best efforts to conceal offending, and bring offenders before the court."