‘Last Chance Saloon’ court threat to man banned from entering Preston

A 24-year-old man, banned by a court from entering his hometown of Preston, was told he was in the “Last Chance Saloon" when he appeared before magistrates accused of skipping probation appointments.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 3:45 pm

Aaron James Whitney, of Barn Meadow, Clayton Brook near Bamber Bridge, admitted breaching a supervision order imposed on him after serving 12 weeks in prison.

And he was warned that he would be sent back to jail if he continued to miss meetings with his probation officer.

"This is absolutely your last chance," said the chair of the magistrates panel Joyce Frost as she fined him £40.

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Preston Magistrates Court

"You are in the Last Chance Saloon. If you don't comply with this then custody is the only place you can go."

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The court heard that Whitney, who had started up his own electrical business since leaving prison in an attempt to get his life back on track, failed to keep three appointments and had also failed to provide evidence to excuse his non-attendance.

He had been given the supervision order after serving his sentence for two offences of criminal damage and also disclosing private images with intent to cause alarm and distress.

Probation service officer Louise Santer explained that Whitney was barred from residing in Preston and was only allowed into the city to attend court or appointments with his legal representatives.

He had refused to tell the probation service where he was living, something which was "a great issue" with the service.

"We are concerned that he is a high-risk offender," she said. "And there is a history of violence, some of which is domestic."

She said Whitney had a habit of not turning up on the right day, or turning up late. He was "maintaining a semblance of complying" which was classed as "false complying."

"He is not engaging in a substantive way. We want him to actively engage with the probation service.

"We do need to work with him so there is no repetition of going back into custody. We want this gentleman to succeed in life."

Defence solicitor Steve Scott said he had been representing Whitney "since he was about 12." He had an "appalling" record.

"Aaron's problems are not helped by an order made at County Court which prevents him entering Preston to keep him away from his former partner and their child."

He said his probation appointments were in Blackpool if he couldn't go into Preston.

"He has been trying to engage and that's positive for Aaron. When he came out of prison he decided he wanted to work and set up his own business. He has qualified over the years as an electrician, but he can't operate from Preston, so he has premises in Bolton.

"He has been doing well in an extremely short period of time, so that says a lot about him. Perhaps he has a positive future to look forward to.

"He has engaged, but not really as positively as he has been required to. He has concentrated on work and building up his business.

"He understands that if he doesn't comply he faces going back into prison and that may well cost him his business."