A ROBBER who attacked a woman walking home from work while on bail for robbing a taxi driver of his takings has been sent to prison.

A court heard how John Kearns, 20, had also only been given a suspended jail term for theft and assault just months before the attacks.

Preston Crown Court was told during the attack on the taxi driver, on New Year's Eve last year, Kearns, of the Salvation Army Hostel, in Heaton Street, Blackburn, led the victim on a 'merry dance' before snatching his earnings.

The defendant, 20, was arrested and bailed pending indentification procedures.

It was then on January 25 this year that he grabbed a handbag from Maria Hussain as she walked in Fielden Street in Blackburn town centre at 7pm.

She was pushed to the floor as her bag was pulled over her head causing her injuries to her knees.

The defendant pleaded guilty to the two robberies, being in breach of a suspended prison order and a conditional discharge.

Daniel Prowse, for Kearns, said the second robbery was a 'classic bag snatch'.

He said: "Finding himself in custody has come as a great shock. It perhaps has come as the the wake up call this young man needs to stop this drunken offending."

He added that since the defendant had allegedly been held a hostage with a knife put to his throat while in custody and as a result he was much more understanding of how his victims might have felt.

Sentencing Kearns to a total of 30 months behind bars, Mr Recorder Simon Bedford told the defendant he hoped his time in prison would help him deal with his alcohol problems.

He said: "Taxi drivers are a vital part of the community and they are entitled to be protected.

"They place themselves at risk from people like you who take advantage of them.

"You were arrested and bailed for identification procedures to be followed, but that did not deter you from committing further offences."