Man jailed for racial abuse at Bridlington restaurant

James Hines outside Hull Crown Court. Picture by Hull News and Pictures
James Hines outside Hull Crown Court. Picture by Hull News and Pictures

A MAN who racially harassed workers at a Bridlington restaurant has been jailed for eight months.

James Hines, 24, verbally abused Haydar Koc and two of his Hungarian staff at Leo’s restaurant on Promenade last year while he had a suspended prison sentence hanging over his head.

Hines, of North Cattlehomes, near Wansford, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of racially aggravated harassment when he appeared at Hull Crown Court last Friday, January 25, for sentencing.

He also admitted stealing a handbag from a Driffield bar.

The court heard that just after midnight on February 28 last year, Mr Koc and his colleagues were in the flat above the restaurant when they heard banging at the door, and discovered Hines and another man – one of them was seen holding a metal pole.

The pair claimed to be police and demanded the victims show them identification or passports.

Crown Barrister Richard Thompson told the court: “One of the men was talking on a mobile phone and pretended to request police back up.

“They told them ‘to get back to their own country’ and swore at them. They threatened to come back and burn the place down. Mr Koc took those threats seriously. He was left feeling worried and frightened.”

The court then heard how on March 10 last year, Hines stole a handbag from Georgies bar in Driffield.

He had been at the bar with his girlfriend, and when he noticed a girl leave her bag unattended while she danced, he stole it. It contained a mobile phone, a camera, cash and bank cards.

The phone and the camera were later discovered at an address he had been staying at.

Mr Thompson said Hines had been convicted 22 times for 47 offences since 2003.

He had been given an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, in November 2011 for assaulting a police constable.

Defence barrister Steven Garth urged Recorder Paul Miller to give Hines “a last chance”.

He said: “He had a wretched upbringing and start to life which undoubtedly did not serve him well.

“He has struggled with alcohol since a young age to get away from his problems.

“He has also struggled with mental health issues. He has had ADHD since he was a child and that had not wholly left him.”

Mr Thompson said that Hines had started a new relationship and tried to settle down, but after finding out she had been seeing another man, he committed these offences while “still in emotional turmoil”.

“He assures me he is no racist,” continued Mr Thompson. “With the theft, it was done on impulse. He had a stupid idea. He is hoping to bring some meaning back to his life and begin voluntary work. I would say that his ambition is a very worthy one. It could be the making of him.”

Sentencing Hines, Recorder Miller told him: “You are 24 and you have had numerous convictions.

“Magistrates gave you a chance in 2011 when they suspended your sentence. I am unhappy that you have not taken that chance and over the next four months you have committed these offences.”

Recorder Miller sentenced Hines to eight weeks in prison for breaching his suspended sentence, and 24 weeks to run consecutively for the racially aggravated harassment.

For the theft, Hines was sentenced to 12 weeks to run concurrently.

A charge of threatening to destroy property relating to the incident at Mr Koc’s restaurant was laid on Hines’ file.