A DISTRICT judge has ordered a top level police inquiry into the handling of an incident where a lone women was racially threatened by a gang of drinkers.

Blackburn magistrates heard how the terrified Asian woman was threatened with a pit bull terrier-type dog She was eventually rescued by her husband who remained at the scene outside Morrisons in Blackburn town centre, while she went to get a police officer.

But the first officer she found on the Boulevard said he was dealing with someone else and she would “just have to wait”.

When she repeated her fears that her husband was about to be beaten he said he could not hear her. She eventually went to the police station and when she returned, officers were on the scene.

District Judge Peter Ward said the woman had suffered an “appalling” ordeal.

“It is concerning that people can behave like this in Blackburn town centre at 6.10pm and I would like the circumstances of the offence and the way it was subsequently handled by the police to be referred to the chief superintendent,” said Judge Ward.

“The whole incident causes me great concern.”

The court heard that after his arrest, dog owner Ryan Holman was referred to the ‘Smile’ programme, a pilot project dealing with racial offences.

He was thrown off the programme for disruptive behaviour but had he completed it, he would have been dealt with by way of a conditional caution.

“Someone seems to have for-gotten what happened to this lady,” said Judge Ward.

“This was an appalling incident which merits a custodial sentence.

"Who takes it upon themselves not to even charge the offence if he completes a programme?”

Holman, 22, of Cockridge Close, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated threatening behaviour.

He was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Ordering the report Judge Ward said because Holman had never served a custodial sentence before a report had to be prepared.

Judge Ward said: “This was a lady who was frightened, subjected to racial abuse and you had a dog which was effectively used as a weapon.”