These are the latest cases and convictions from Blackpool Magistrates' Court - Thursday, January 30, 2020

Here is the latest round-up of cases from Blackpool Magistrates' Court.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 11:45 am

Robert Joseph Watkinson, 59, fraud charges

A Blackpool man facing fraud charges involving £250,000 made his first appearance in court.

Robert Joseph Watkinson, 59, of Dickson Road, is alleged to have carried out the offences over a three year period.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

They allegedly involved the production of false insurance documents, forged signatures, and theft from individuals of up to £50,000 a time in Wiswell, Accrington, Great Harwood, Burnley, and Clitheroe.

Watkinson, who faces 15 allegations, did not enter a plea. He was sent for a trial at Preston Crown Court, which was scheduled for Wednesday, February 26. He was granted bail.

David Leach, 48, theft

A St Annes man accused of theft was put on the wanted list.

David Leach, 48, of All Saints Road, is accused of stealing two bottles of whisky – worth £50 – from Sainsbury’s in St Annes in December last year.

Magistrates issued an arrest warrant after Leach failed to attend the first hearing of his case.

Richard Barlow, 44, driving without insurance and licence and failing to provide a urine specimen

A former soldier suspected of drug-driving fell asleep in a police cell and did not provide a sample for testing.

Richard Barlow, 44, of Munster Avenue, Bispham, pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and a licence and failing to provide a urine specimen.

He was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £120 with £32 victims’ surcharge.

Prosecutor Tess Kenyon said police officers stopped Barlow as he drove a Ford Focus in Church Street, Blackpool town centre, at around 8.30pm on Thursday, January 9 because the car was showing as uninsured.

Barlow tested positive for cocaine following a roadside drug test, she said, but he failed to provide a urine sample at the police station.

Adam Whittaker, defending, said his client, a former soldier who served in the Gulf, Serbia, and Bosnia, suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and had a history of drug abuse.

He was on methadone and was unable to give a blood sample because his veins had collapsed.

He was then given five drinks and two hours to provide a urine sample – but he was unable to and fell asleep, the court was told.

Mr Whittaker said it was doubtful his client would drive again.

Liz Beck, 56, fracking case dismissed

One of the first female anti-fracking protesters to be prosecuted has now turned out to be the last.

Liz Beck, 56, who made her first appearance at court almost three years ago, emerged smiling after her case was dismissed by District Judge Jane Goodwin.

She had been due to pleaded not guilty to a road safety-related charge after being accused of standing in front of a lorry emerging from Cuadrilla’s dormant site off Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, last September.

Beck, who lived at the New Hope camp set up by campaigners nearby, and now lives in Whalley Range, Manchester, walked free after the court was told evidence had been handed to her defence lawyer by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) just two working days before the hearing.

The CPS also failed to serve vital footage, the court was told.

The judge said: “Footage was downloaded onto a disk the day after the alleged incident in September last year and was not sent to the defence. There is no excuse for the Crown dragging their feet like this. It puts the defence at a disadvantage.

“From what I have heard, there has been a flurry of activity by the prosecution just a few days before this trial. I dismiss this case against the defendant.”

Nick Turner, prosecuting, said: “I accept the defence should be given time to address the issues caused by this late service.”

Lee Donnelly, 38, possessing a class A drug

A man was found with a small snap bag containing cocaine at Blackpool’s police station.

Lee Donnelly, 38, of Elizabeth Street, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to possessing the class A drug.

He was fined £200 with £85 costs, and ordered to pay £32 victims’ surcharge.

Prosecutor Tess Kenyon said police were called to a disturbance at Donnelly’s home at around midnight on October 15 last year.

He was arrested and, when being booked into custody, he had the bag of cocaine in his hand, the court was told.

When interviewed, Donnelly said he had been given the drug and was meant to take it – but had forgotten it was in his pocket.

Defending, Adam Whittaker said his client was a family man who did not usually take drugs.