A 35-YEAR-OLD man who took a short cut to visit a friend nearly took the direct route to prison.

Blackburn magistrates heard Paul Andrew Carroll came into contact with his estranged partner which he was prohibited from doing by a restraining order.

Carroll, 35, of Pine Street, Nelson, pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order.

He was sentenced to 14 days in days in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said the restraining order prohibited Carroll from having any contact with Katy Hawkins.

A police officer saw them walking down a back alley together and recognised them from previous dealings.

Paul Huxley, defending, said Carroll was going to see a friend and took a short cut which took him close to where Miss Hawkins lived.

"He saw her and acknowledged her and that was all," said Mr Huxley. "There was no confrontation or difficulties between them. I am aware she has made contact with the court to ask about removal of the order."