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Magistrates ‘disgusted’ by racist harassment of takeaway owners

PUBLISHED: 10:26 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:35 11 February 2014

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

Archant

Pregnant 20-year-old shouted and swore at takeaway owners in Barnstaple.

MAGISTRATES were ‘disgusted’ by an attack on takeaway staff in which a pregnant 20-year-old hurled abuse at them, a court has heard.

Nicole Hooper, of Victoria Street, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment after she swore at the staff in Barum Takeaway on October 17.

Prosecutor Karen Ball said Hooper entered the takeaway with a group of people who began to swear and shout racist remarks at the staff.

Hooper was arrested and admitted to police she had called the staff ‘Bulgarian’ and accused them of ‘taking all our jobs’ in response to them calling her a rude name.

Laurence Overend, defending, said Hooper was not a racist and that it was an ‘ill conceived and ignorant comment to make’.

“Without making light of it, this was more like a Nigel Farage impassioned speech than something that was generally racist,” he said.

“She is looking forward to settling down and putting behind her any ignorant comments that were made in the confines of a kebab shop.”

A victim impact statement from the owner of the takeaway was read to the court, in which he said he was concerned by what had happened.

He said: “I take threats towards me and my staff very seriously. I can’t carry on dealing with people walking past my shop daily and shouting unpleasant things.”

Presiding magistrate Mrs Williams said the bench was ‘completely unimpressed’ with what they had heard.

“In fact, we are quite disgusted at what went on that night,” she said.

Hooper was fined £65, and ordered to pay a total of £60 in compensation to the three staff members as well as a £35 fine for breaching a conditional discharge.

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