A PERSISTENT offender walked free from court for the third time in 11 days after admitting another breach of a criminal behaviour order.

On each occasion Russell Summers was warned that if he continued offending he would go to prison.

When Summers appeared before Blackburn magistrates on May 14 District Judge Joanne Hirst told him:" I know you are just sitting around but in the end you will go to prison for that if you are inside the prohibited area."

When he appeared on May 20 the chairman of the magistrates told him the starting point for repeated breaches was custody.

"We recognise we are living in extraordinary times and there are services and facilities which you are not able to access at the moment," said the chairman.

"We are going to deal with you by way of a fine but don't think this is a way of excusing your behaviour and allowing you to breach the order in future."

Three days later he was arrested outside B&M Bargains in the Peel Centre which was an area he was banned from under the criminal behaviour order.

He admitted another breach and the magistrates revoked the community order made on May 14 and replaced it with a new order for 12 months with 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

The chairman told Summers his behaviour caused her concern.

"There are people trying to help you but I question your engagement on many levels," said the chairman. "You breached the order seven times last year and three times already this year and that is no acceptable."

She said the community order was not an easy option.

"Hopefully this will keep you out of prison but this is your last chance," she said. "If you appear again you will have nobody else to blame but yourself if you end up in prison."

Summers, 54, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to breaching the criminal behaviour order.

Ann Deakin, prosecuting, said the order prohibited Summers from entering specified areas in and around Blackburn town centre and from begging.

He was found outside B & M Bargains on the Peel Centre sitting on the floor.

Peter King, defending, said the Peel entre was one of four specific areas from which his client was banned.

"He had bought some sandwiches and a drink from B&M and shared them with a friend," said Mr King. "He was not engaging in anti-social behaviour and he was not soliciting money."

Mr King said homelessness was not his client's lifestyle of choice.

"You will have heard of pretend begging and pretend homelessness but for him it is genuine," said Mr King.

"He sleeps in a doorway and he has not been approached by anyone from any organisation trying to get him off the streets during the current health crisis."