A MAN caught breaking into a hair salon was detained by a passer-by until police arrived.

Blackburn magistrates heard Peter Balmain was climbing out of the broken window with his bag of “swag” when he was grabbed by lorry driver Lee Horrocks who stopped after hearing the burglar alarm.

And prosecutor Catherine Allan said Mr Horrocks deserved praise for his public spirited actions.

Balmain, 43, of Scofield Road, Rawtenstall, pleaded guilty to burglary at Tufties on Newchurch Road, Rawtenstall. He was ordered to pay £150 compensation by the magistrates who said they were trying to give him a chance to break the cycle of custodial sentences which left him struggling to establish himself in society.

Miss Allan said Mr Horrocks was driving along Newchurch Road at about 11.40pm when he heard the burglar alarm from Tufties.

“He stopped to investigate and saw a smashed window and someone inside the salon,” said Miss Allan. “He then saw the defendant climbing out carrying a rucksack and detained him until the police arrived.”

Miss Allan said Balmain had been released from prison a week before the offence.

Janet Sime, defending, said Balmain had been sent to prison for seven days for breach of an order.

“He came out with not a penny to his name and nowhere to live,” said Miss Sime.

“On Monday when his benefits should have been paid in he discovered his universal credit had been cancelled. In desperation he committed this offence.”

Miss Sime said it was unfortunate that people were often released from prison with no support.

“You can send him back to prison today but that will just put is back in the same position,” said Miss Sime.

“He will go to prison where he will have his own bed and be fed but eventually he will come out and it will all start again. He needs help so he doesn’t have to go out breaking into places and stealing.”

The chairman of the magistrates said they were going to give Balmain a chance to break the cycle.

“We want to give you a chance but it is up to you what happens next," he said.