Daredevil in prison ‘escape’

Nigel Hardman
Nigel Hardman
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A sword swallowing contortionist has escaped a prison sentence after handing police a USB stick which led to his own arrest.

Former Blackpool limo driver Nigel Hardman pleaded guilty to possessing scores of indecent images of teenage girls and appeared at Preston Crown Court to be sentenced.

But the convicted benefits cheat, who previously used the stage name Prince Razaq in his role as a daredevil magician, will not be going to prison after the court heard there was a better chance of rehabilitating him if he remained on the outside.

Hardman, 46, formerly of Blenheim Drive, Warton, believed he was helping officers to investigate alleged drug dealing in the local community when he handed over the memory stick containing CCTV footage from outside his home.

But when the footage was viewed it emerged Hardman had also handed over his stash of 93 indecent images, covering the full spectrum of severity under a new classification system. Recorder Nicholas Clarke, handed Hardman a nine-month sentence suspended for two years, with a four-month curfew from 8pm to 6am.

He must undertake an internet sex offenders treatment programme, was handed a 10-year sex offenders prevention order and must sign on the Sex Offender’s Register for five years.