Race-hate attack on shopkeeper

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A man made race-hate remarks to a Fleetwood shopkeeper and hit him.

James Houton, 36, of Manor Road, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated assault.

Martine Connah, prosecuting, said that on March 19, at 10.55pm, a shopkeeper in the port was getting ready to close when he heard a bang at the door. The shopkeeper asked Houton why he had banged on the door.

Houton denied it then launched a tirade of racially abusive remarks, before putting up his hand and hitting his victim on the cheek.

Houton told police he had drunk two bottles of wine and a few beers.

Mitch Sarangi, defending, said his client had been reckless, but had not intended to hit the victim.

Houton was sentenced to a 10-week overnight curfew, put on 35 days’ rehabilitation to be supervised by the Probation Service, and ordered to pay £100 to his victim, £150 costs plus £60 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.