KERB crawlers have been warned that prostitution has a ‘limited future’ in Blackburn by the officer behind an ongoing crackdown.

Sergeant Kevin Jones admitted that patrols under Operation Eton around Blackburn’s red light districts had slowed during the freezing weather, But he warned they were now being stepped up to ‘every other day’ from January 26 until March 31.

The latest sweep of the Bank Top area resulted in six suspected prostitutes aged between 23 and 36 being given either first or second warnings.

Suspects can only be arrested for soliciting on their third alleged offence.

In total, three people were arrested. Of those, Michelle Jeal, 36, previously of Cherry Lodge, and Carly Summerfield, 27, of Adelaide Terrace, both Blackburn, were charged with soliciting.

A man in his 30s was also arrested on suspicion of paying for sex. He was later given a conditional caution which requires him to complete a course aimed at raising awareness of the issue around prostitution.

Sgt Jones said: “We’ve had around 20 people on the course who range from local people to men who come from across the north west and even one from Yorkshire because of the anonymity of picking up a girl in a different area.

“None of the men who have taken the conditional caution course have reoffended.”

Sgt Jones said the long-running Operation Eton was about ‘changing mindsets’ and giving local residents respite from prostitution, as well as targeting ‘those that exploit others’.

He added: “In all cases kerb crawlers will be arrested and face prosecution and possible court appearance.

“For street sex workers we seek to apply to the courts to prohibit them from areas of Blackburn and extend that where needed.

“I can’t stress enough that the street sex trade in Blackburn has a very limited future. There’s no place for prostitution or kerb crawling in the town.”