A railway user from Wigan has been fined £1,000 for hurling racial abuse at a family.
Police say the victims were abused by 50-year-old Keith Harrison as they waited for a train at Preston station last September.
Harrison urged a couple and their young daughter to get off a bench, where they were sitting, as it was “only for English people”. And when the family informed him that they were English, he began racially abusing them and tried to force them off the bench.
Immediately following their ordeal, the family reported the abuse to officers from British Transport Police nearby. Harrison was arrested before he could leave the station and later charged with racially-aggravated harassment.
Though Harrison, of Park Road, Wigan, denied the offence, when he appeared before Chorley magistrates, he was convicted after a trial.
Magistrates fined him £1,033 for the offence. Speaking after the case, PC Gavin Daw said: “This is an example of the intolerant and unacceptable behaviour that we sadly still sometimes see in our society today, but a great example to show how the justice system will support victims of hate crime and deal with offenders.
“There is no place for this sort of behaviour on the railway network and British Transport Police will work tirelessly to ensure that we play our part in protecting all of our passengers and service users, whatever their ethnicity, nationality or religion.”
The incident is not the first racist episode to involve Wiganers in recent weeks.
Transport police issued an appeal in December after a 12-year-old girl was racially abused on a train between Wigan and Preston.
Officers said the youngster and her parent were left distressed after a thin man, in his mid to late 20s, cornered her on a service running on December 8, between 10.45pm and 11.10pm.
He was also said to have a faded tattoo on his neck, believed to be a ‘G’ in old-fashioned writing. He also wore a black baseball cap with ‘KING’ on it in gold letters.
Transport police have been campaigning to rid the railways of racist abuse. Those witnessing or subjected to such attacks are being asked to text 61016 with details.
Anyone who knows anything about the December 8 attack is being urged to call 0800 405040, using log number 614 for that date.