A St Annes woman has become the first lawyer in Britain to be made the subject of an Anti Social Behaviour Order.

Magistrates imposed the order on high flying personal injury specialist Colette Cowap to 'protect the public from further criminal and anti social acts.' If she breaches the order she has been warned she could face up to five years jail.

The order against Miss Cowap of Dobson Avenue, St Annes was granted by Blackpool Magistrates following an application by Lancashire Police. A spokesman for the Law Society said yesterday she was the first solicitor in the UK to get an ASBO primarily brought in by the Government to curb anti social behaviour by youths.

Miss Cowap who started to practise as a solicitor in 1998 must now obey a six clause court order.

She must not; Act in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to anyone. Abuse, threaten or intimidate anyone; Be carried in a taxi as a paying fare without the means in cash to pay the fare; Remain in any shop, commercial or hospital premises if asked to leave by staff; Remain in any bed and breakfast accommodation, guesthouse, hotel, travel lodge or inn when asked to leave by staff; Remain in the accident and emergency unit or in the premises or groups of Victoria Hospital having been discharged or when asked to leave.

The order warns smartly dressed petite Miss Cowap that it has been invoked to protect others.

The solicitor has appeared before the same court several times and magistrates had been told how, after qualifying, she had acquired a 'very good job' with a law firm specialising in personal injury litigation.

However, pressure of work and personal pressures led to her drinking too much. She was convicted of drink driving and drunkenly caused disgraceful scenes in front of seriously ill patients at Victoria Hospital.

Her current lawyer Trevor Colebourne told the ASBO hearing: "My client needs help. Having reached a compromise with the prosecution over the ASBO conditions I look to the police to express a degree of compassion when they are required to deal with her."

A former colleague of Miss Cowap's said: '"This is a personal tragedy for Colette. She was a real high flier in her career in personal injury law - but along with the big salary goes a lot of pressure."