A JUDGE warned a Widnes taxi fare dodger who failed to pay his fare, breaching a suspended prison sentence, that he was lucky to escape jail.

Jonathan Dyer aged 22, of Eversley, Hough Green, admitted the two offences.

Sentencing him at Warrington Crown Court on Friday, June 27, Judge Nick Woodward said: “You were going off the rails.

“It is good news that you are now engaging with probation. If you hadn’t you’d be going to prison today.

“You have a final chance. You’ve got to sort yourself out otherwise you will end up in prison.”

Prosecutor John Hedgecoe said Dyer had failed to pay for a taxi ride home after a night out in Liverpool on February 11, 2014.

The court heard he had been drinking and knew he didn’t have enough money to pay for the journey.

He was arrested after the taxi driver followed him.

Unemployed Dyer was in breach of an eight month suspended prison sentence he received in June, 2013, for stealing sunglasses, a stereo and Mp3 player from a car.

He had also failed to attend three probation appointments.

Defending, Sarah Griffin said Dyer was “extremely sorry”.

She said: “This was an extremely stupid and idiotic act when he was drinking. He has made full and frank admissions. This was a turning point. He has abstained from drinking altogether.”

She said Dyer suffered from serious anxiety and depression and did not attend his supervision interviews because he had a fear of being in a crowded place.

She said he was now taking increased medication for his anxiety and had pledged to “rehabilitate himself”.

Dyer was given a four month community order and curfew and ordered to pay £235 costs.