Lancashire's longest serving magistrate retires today on his 70th birthday

After 40 years of presiding over an array of criminal cases, the county's longest ever serving magistrate has stepped down from his post at Preston Magistrates' Court.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 5:21 pm
Updated Friday, 25th May 2018, 5:26 pm
Andrew Shorrock outside Preston's magistrates' court, where he has served for 40 years

Grandad-of-four Andrew Shorrock, from Fulwood, was just 31 when friends encouraged him to apply.

Now celebrating his 70th he has to leave his beloved post.

He says: “ I joined because I felt it was giving something back to the community.”

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Andrew Shorrock outside Preston's magistrates' court, where he has served for 40 years

Andrew, who attended English Martyrs primary school and Preston Catholic College, is married to former bank clerk Patricia, whom he met at a dance.

The couple, who have two sons and four grandchildren, still enjoy ballroom dancing - with Blackpool Tower being a favourite spot.

The office of Justice of the Peace can be traced back to the reign of Richard I who appointed ‘keepers of the peace’ to enforce the law.

The Act 1361 provided that they had the “power to restrain the Offenders, Rioters, and other Barators”.

Andrew Shorrock outside Preston's magistrates' court, where he has served for 40 years

Andrew has had his fair share of those.

The retired BT engineer laughs as he recalls: “ Years ago most of the cases we dealt with were drunks.

“Sometimes they would recognise me in the street and nod to me.

“Once someone shouted: “Oi, are you a magistrate?” and I thought there was going to be some trouble. But he just came up to me said: ‘You sentenced me the other day - thanks’.

The powers of magistrates have varied significant over the years, from hanging, whipping and transportation in the 1600s.

Today - thankfully - magistrates use modern sentencing guidelines to assist them, and can impose six to 12 months in jail in some cases.