A MAN whose 35-year marriage was foundering because of his drinking asked a work colleague to spy on his estranged wife.

Blackburn magistrates heard the man refused to play secret agent and he and his wife went to the wife’s home and told her what had happened.

Anthony David Hart, 55, of Lowerhouse Lane, Burnley, pleaded guilty to harassment. He was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and made subject to a community order for 12 months with 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

Jade Coleman, prosecuting, said the couple had separated in September and she left the family home and moved to Colne.

Hart had turned up at her workplace and sent unwanted text messages which ultimately led to her blocking him.

“They have an adult son with mental health difficulties so she has to have some contact,” said Miss Coleman.

The work colleague and his wife turned up at her home and told her of Hart’s request to him to spy on her and provide him with information.

“He had discussed the request with his wife and as well as refusing to co-operate they decided it was right to tell her about his request,” said Miss Coleman.

Subsequently the victim received more messages and calls and eventually a call to say he was at the house.

“A minute later he appeared at the front of the property and that disturbed her because she didn’t think he knew where she lived,” said Miss Coleman.

“She told him to go away but on May 28 he turned up again. He was sat in her front garden shouting to be let in and refusing to leave. He was clearly drunk.”

In a statement the victim said she wasn’t frightened of her husband but he made her feel anxious, especially when he was in drink.

“I am more anxious because he now knows where I live,” she added.

“I just want to get on with my life.”

Graeme Parkinson, defending, said since the offence his client had been through residential detox which he had funded by cashing in some of his pension.

“He recognised he had developed a problem with alcohol and he has taken steps to do something about it. He has not consumed any alcohol since leaving detox.”

Passing sentence, Deputy District Judge Huw Edwards said there was no doubt the defendant had made strides to address his alcohol problem and he deserved credit for that.