POLICE investigating complaints of a man being sexually suggestive to children on a school bus found motorist wearing a purple leotard, blonde wig and high heeled boots.

Blackburn magistrates heard that Lawrence Balshaw reversed at high speed when his car was approached by a police officer causing school run traffic to swerve into hedges to avoid collisions.

And when Balshaw was eventually stopped he was wearing a purple leotard and combat trousers and the wig, glasses and boots were recovered from a nearby bin.

Balshaw, 50, of Lyndale Close, Wilpshire, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and possessing an offensive weapon, a pick-axe handle, in the car park of West Bradford Country House Hotel car park.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for two years, made subject to community supervision for two years and banned from driving for 18 months.

Philippa White, prosecuting, said police had received reports of a man wearing women’s’ clothing and driving a blue Peugeot winking and making sexual gestures towards children travelling to County High School in Grindleton.

On July 21 at 8.45 am a police officer driving an unmarked police vehicle saw the car pull up outside the school as the children were getting off a bus. Balshaw was wearing a blonde wig and sun glasses.

As the officer approached Balshaw reversed back down Sawley Road at speed.

“Oncoming traffic had to turn into hedges to avoid collisions and the car then reversed around a blind bend towards Grindleton.,” said Mrs White.

As the officer gave chase Balshaw drove through Grindleton at speed and as he entered West Bradford a ‘watch your speed’ sign showed he was doing 45 mph in a 30 mph limit.

“This was at a time when children were going to school and the lanes were busy,” said Mrs White.

Balshaw was eventually found on the hotel car park in Eaves Hall Lane wearing a purple leotard, combat trousers and nothing else.

He told police the pick axe handle was to protect himself in case he was accosted because of his appearance.

“The blond wig and female clothing were found in a bin on the car park,” said Mrs White.

When interviewed Balshaw said he had been following the school bus wearing female clothing to get attention. A doctor had previously told him his behaviour was a form of escapism.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said Balshaw had no previous convictions and was clearly unwell at the time of the incident.

“It is evident there are deep underlying problems here,” said Mr Taylor.

“The dressing in women’s’ clothing is an attempt at escapism and a cry for help.

"He knows that what he did was extremely dangerous and it is only by the grace of God nobody was seriously injured or even killed.”