POLICE making a welfare check after a man was seen entering his estranged wife's house in breach of a restraining order found him hiding under a bed.

Blackburn magistrates heard the officers were told by the wife and a child that former soldier Jonathan Sutcliffe was not in the house.

Sutcliffe, 32, of Allerton Close, Darwen, pleaded guilty to breach of a restraining order. He was jailed for eight weeks and ordered to pay £128 victim surcharge on release.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said when police arrived at the address they saw Sutcliffe's car parked outside. After a significant delay his wife eventually answered the door and consented to the officers searching the house.

"She said he wasn't there and a child also said the defendant wasn't present but he was found hiding under a bed in one of the children's bedrooms," said Mrs Yates.

Sutcliffe later told police he had been in the kitchen when the police knocked on the door and panicked because he knew he shouldn't be there. He said he hadn't seen the children for two weeks and missed them.

Neil Howard, defending, said the level of harm as a result of the offence was particularly low.

"His wife didn't ring the police in respect of any disturbance or anything going on at the address," said Mr Howard. "She consented to him being there and she refused to make a statement to the police."

Mr Howard said his client had been a soldier in the Duke of Lancaster Regiment and since leaving had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"He is now working with Project Nova, receiving combat therapy, and is addressing his problems," said Mr Howard. "This is a gentleman who has the opportunity to turn his life around but he needs to concentrate on his mental health and go through the proper channels to see his children."