Riverdance mix-up, Tamagotchi 'killed' at supermarket, new locks ordered after prison blunder - Lancashire stories from July 1997

Stories and photographs from days gone by.

Thursday, 12th July 2018, 2:44 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:12 pm
Peter Taylor from the Preston and North Lancashire Blind Welfare Society eventually smiled when the local police (left to right) Inspector Mark Tottman, Community Officer for the Kingsfold area Peter Rigby and Sgt. Alan Roberts from Penwortham Police Station took the handcuffs off and presented him with a cheque for 550 raised at a recent 60s and 70s night

Here is a selection of our favourite stories from July 1997:

New locks ordered after prison blunder

Prison bosses have been forced to change scores of locks at a Lancashire jail after a set of keys were shown on a prime time television programme.

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Wymott Prison has been landed with a bill which could top £100,000 after millions of viewers saw the keys on Channel Four’s Today in Wymott Prison series.

Police were called in to investigate the security lapse and Prison Service officials are seeking top level talks with the production company behind the series.

Staff at the Category C prison, at Ulnes Walton, near Leyland, were forced to change around 150 locks amid fears the television images could have been used to makes copies of the keys.

One prison source said: “Although we understand why the locks have to be changed, in the current climate with the savings the prison department has got to make, this is a lot of money for something that could have been avoided.”

London-based independent production company Just Television spent a fortnight at Wymott filming four 10 minute slots on prison life.

The series looked at a day in the life of a prisoner, long-term inmate and governor.

Girl in mourning as cyberpet ‘checks out’

A Preston youngster’s toy pet has gone to cyber space after it “checked out” at the supermarket.

The virtual reality pet on a keyring, called a Tamagotchi, “died” as it was accidentally swiped at the checkout of Morrisons, on Preston Docks.

The toy was created in Japan and the idea behind them is to teach children how to care for a real pet.

Nine-year-old Danielle Byrne, of Leyland Road, Penwortham, had been lovingly caring for her Tamagotchi when it was “killed” going through the checkout.

Danielle said: “I was really upset.”

A spokesman for Morrisons said: “I am very sorry, we’re living in the real work now and I don’t believe that the Tamagotchi just ‘died’ - it has got 28 lives anyway.”

Company out of step over Riverdance show timing

Dozens of Lancashire show-goers were led a merry dance because of a booking mix-up.

A party of 49 people thought they had been booked for an evening performance to see the world renowned Irish show Riverdance until the company rang them hours before the show to tell them they should have attended a matinee showing.

The travel company apologised for its “stupid mistake” in advertising an evening performance when the show started at 2pm.

Mrs Denise Wallis, 40, of Dodgson Road, Preston, and her mother, Mrs Marion Robinson, 62, of Preston, were among the many disappointed people bitterly disappointed by the cancellation.

Mrs Wallis bought the tickets as a present for her mother and as a tonic after a recent hip operation.

She said: “We were informed of the problem hours before the show. We couldn’t believe a company could make such a silly mistake.

“We are angry the problem had not been spotted sooner.”

Shocked staff at Blackpool-based Millennium Concert Travel only realised the error when the Nynex in Manchester called to find out why the party hadn’t arrived for the 2pm matinee on Sunday.

They had already received the tickets for Riverdance but no-one had checked the start time.