Leslie Peter Smith, aged 74, called the National Crime Agency and a police force under false names to tell them a 15-year-old girl he was talking to online was being sexually abused.
Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that during one of the calls, Smith, who lives on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, demanded immunity from prosecution.
An investigation was launched by Devon and Cornwall Police to identify the girl, who Smith shared a picture of. Officers were able to track her down and after speaking to her and checking her devices, were satisfied that she was not being abused.
Then, a further probe was undertaken to identify Smith. Telephone data led officers to Smith's address, where he was arrested on August 22, 2019, around two weeks after he made the phone calls.
His devices were seized, and police found two images of child porn, one Category B and one Category C.
Lynette McClement, prosecuting, told the court that although the number of images found may have been low, Smith's internet search history "showed a clear interest" in sexually explicit pictures of children.
Smith, of Boraston Drive, Burford, Tenbury Wells, pleaded guilty to two charges of making indecent photographs of a child.
Richard Butcher, defending, said that Smith was "mentally unwell and physically frail". Smith made several outbursts from the dock as Mr Butcher mitigated on his behalf.
Judge Anthony Lowe sentenced Smith to a 24-month community order and 30 rehabilitation activity days. He told Smith: "It is clear that you have mental health issues, but no mental health issue is a defence or excuse for engaging in these activities."
Smith was also ordered to pay £1,800 in prosecution costs and issued with a sexual harm prevention order for five years.