REHAB for an alcoholic who made life a misery for flat tenants cost taxpayers up to £1,700 a week, it has emerged.

John Bailey, 43, has finally been given an anti-social behaviour order banning him from a block of flats off Montague Street, Blackburn.

But magistrates were told of the high Social Services cost of keeping him off the booze and out of trouble since November.

Late last year it was revealed that Bailey had slept rough in communal areas of the flats for three years, making life a misery for mainly elderly residents.

But there was outrage when magistrates refused to impose an interim ASBO banning Bailey from the complex, after a court was told he would not understand the need to comply with the order.

Shortly after he went into a rehab scheme offered by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

Now magsitrates have imposed the ASBO banning him from the flats, despite him being in social services’ care and away from the flats since November.

Scott Ainge, prosecuting, said: “While he has been away there have been no problems for the residents of the area.

“In the past he has always gravitated back to Blackburn and if that ever happens again the residents of these flats deserve to be protected.”

The judge had the benefit of a psychiatrist’s report which said Bailey’s alcohol problem had caused brain damage.

Michael Blacklidge, defending, said: “He was in a specialised care home in Darwen at a cost of £1,700 a week and that kept him off the streets and out of the snow and ice over the Christmas and New Year periods.

“Had he been left on the streets he would not be with us today.”

Mr Blacklidge said Bailey had been moved to a more appropriate unit in the Rossendale Valley last week.

“He can’t come and go as he pleases and is under the control of Social Services,” said Mr Blacklidge.

“He has not had a drink since November 20.”

The court heard that an application for a Depravation of Liberty Order will be applied for which will enable Social Services to keep Bailey in a safe environment.