A PROSTITUTE has been fined for ‘persistently loitering’ in Blackburn’s red light district.

Blackburn magistrates heard Joanna Marie Warner was arrested in Dixon Street, in the town’s Bank Top area, despite being given two warnings and a conditional caution in a four-month period.

Warner, 29, from Blackburn, pleaded guilty to persistently loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

She was fined £55 as well as being made to pay £15 in costs.

Michael Blacklidge, defending, said Warner had never appeared before the courts for a similar offence.

He said: “These proceedings have been a very salutary lesson for her. It has heightened her sense of shame and embarrassment.

“It is not something she had contemplated when she resorted to this kind of behaviour. She is adamant this will be her first and last appearance for this kind of offence.”

The case comes two months after police and town hall chiefs joined forces to ‘purge’ the streets of prostitutes and street drinking in a major six-week operation after Bank Top residents said their lives were being made a misery.

The council is also using mobile CCTV cameras to monitor the situation long term.

Sgt Kevin Jones said prostitutes were given two warnings by police before being arrested.

He said: “We try to take a victim-centred approach to the problem of prostitution, arrests are only one part of our strategy to help those working in the sex trade remove themselves from this lifestyle and we aim to help the sex workers with their issues using the services offered by our partners.

“Our method of dealing with prostitution is to prosecute those responsible for abuse and exploitation.

“It is not right that people should have to live with this kind of activity taking place outside their houses.

“Following a warning the women are given access to and encouraged to use support services in attempt to help them move away from sex work.

“We find many women have become sex workers because of drug and alcohol dependency issues and our partnership work goes towards addressing that.

“With this help and support our aim is to offer these women a route out of their current lifestyle, enabling them to turn their backs on prostitution.”