By Nicola Priest

THE story which astounded me most last week was the report of a 31-year-old Cheshire man who was arrested for being drunk and abusive towards a police officer.

This type of incident is not that unusual, it was that fact that Raymond Arthur Lawton was waiting for his poor unfortunate mother to pick him up at 2.45am.

I know mothers and sons are often close, but please Mrs Lawton, it’s time to cut the apron strings.

Why are you staying up until the early hours to pick up your son who was this time quite drunk? He has already admitted to needing to take a long hard look a himself and, yes, he does.

But if Raymond can afford to go out boozing until the early hours, then he can afford to take a taxi home – that’s what they are for.

As mum to three sons (who have all left home) I can safely say that I’m tucked up in my bed at 2.45am on Sundays and nothing would induce me to get out of it unless there was an emergency.

Raymond should be ashamed of himself – firstly for behaving so badly in the first place and secondly for expecting his mum to become his own personal taxi service.

Hopefully he will have learned a valuable lesson as the total £205 fines and costs would have bought Raymond quite a few taxis home.

In another court story, a 25-year-old thug who was drunk and fighting in the town centre didn’t even bother to turn up for his court case – such was his arrogance.

It wasn’t a first offence – no, Ashley Alexander John Horne already has 12 convictions for 28 offences.

But he stuck two fingers up to justice and the judge had to issue a fine in his absence.

What I want to know is will he actually pay this fine? Most normal people summonsed to court would be petrified, but I suppose if you’re a regular it all becomes rather mundane.

Another man who failed to show at court was Guy Spencer Willis, also 25, who has a habit of stealing bottles of wine from local shops.

But it was his previous unpaid fines which appalled me. He still owes almost £150 from other offences and this latest fine of nearly £140 means he owes £288.

As he’s on benefits he’s allowed to pay £10 every two weeks.

By my calculations that’s going to take him more than a year to pay it back.

The magistrates also sentenced him to a six-month community and rehabilitation order – so let’s hope that does the trick.

But I can’t help feeling that these persistent offenders, who can’t even be bothered to show their face at court to hear the charges against them, need something more drastic to stop them reoffending.

I’d certainly be tempted to have them all arrested and chucked into jail the moment they fail to show up. Perhaps that might make them think twice.

It must be so frustrating for the police to catch these people, bring them before the courts, only to see the flagrant disregard they have for our justice system.

l I’D love to see some of the footage from the body cameras that police officers in Cheshire will be wearing during their three month trial.

Sadly due to data protection laws I’m sure we won’t be allowed to, but if they want a volunteer to go through it, I’m up for it!