Man racially abused debt recovery officer

A SOMERCOTES man hurled racial abuse at a debt recovery officer delivering a document to his address, a court has been told.

Chesterfield magistrates were told that the officer, Ashley Goring, had a white father and a black mother.

He was working for a debt recovery agency on behalf of Derby Crown Court when he called to serve a notice on someone at Andrew Barratt’s home.

Peter Bettney, prosecuting, said Mr Goring asked if that person lived at the address and Barratt refused to answer the question.

Mr Goring then gave him a sealed envelope addressed to that person and Barratt ripped it open and read the letter inside it.

Mr Bettney said Barratt asked what it was all about and Mr Goring replied that he could not say because of the Data Protection Act.

The court was told that Barratt then racially abused the man.

He screwed up the letter and threw it towards Mr Goring, who complained to police. Barratt said in a police interview he had anger problems and became frustrated when Mr Goring would not explain what the letter was about. .

Magistrates were told he racially abused the man because he wanted ‘to scare him to make sure he left’.

Barratt, 45, of Sleetmoor Lane, admitted using racially-aggravated threatening or insulting words or behaviour on January 18.

He was fined £81, with £85 costs, and the Bench also ordered him to pay £50 compensation to Mr Goring for “mental anxiety” caused to him.

John Wilford, for Barratt, said an enforcement notice was being issued with regard to a television licence fine, and his partner’s surname was incorrect on the document.

“He and his partner have learning difficulties and he becomes easily frustrated if things aren’t explained to him,” said Mr Wilford.

“This doesn’t excuse his behaviour. He didn’t understand how seriously someone would take comments like this.

“He only understood it when police explained to him what racist language meant,” he told the court.