A JUDGE has questioned the effectiveness of fixed penalties after a man racked up hundreds of pounds in unpaid fines for being drunk and disorderly.

Blackburn magistrates heard that William Margerison already owed the courts over £2,000 and had been issued with six fixed penalties in the last 12 months.

The 22-year-old has now been banned from entering Blackburn town centre at night for the next three years by an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

"These are exactly the kind of persistent, low level offences that anti-social behaviour orders were designed for," said District Judge Peter Ward.

"These people cause harassment, alarm or distress but are not being effectively dealt with by convictions for individual offences.

"He doesn't pay, so it doesn't work to issue fixed penalties."

Margerison, of Rossall Terrace, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly in Mincing Lane and criminal damage. He was made subject to a curfew order for 12 weeks and ordered to pay £100 compensation.

Rachel Adamson, defending, said Marge-rison was suffering from depression and tension and had been signed off work for the last six months.

Lancashire Police was one of the first in the country to pilot the issuing of fixed penalty notices for a variety of minor offences ranging from drunk and disorderly behaviour to wasting police time.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said today that Margerison's case was further proof that fixed penalties don't work.