A TAXI driver feared for his safety as he was racially abused by a man in Worcester.

Nasir Mahmood was driving his taxi just after midnight on April 18 when he picked up Jack Payne from Barker Street.

Payne, who was under the influence of alcohol, began using racially abusive language towards Mr Mahmood.

Mr Mahmood then ordered Payne to get out of his cab, saying he would not take him any further while the abuse continued.

The row continued as Payne, 22, of Rodborough Drive, continued to hurl racial abuse at Mr Mahmood, and magistrates in Worcester heard how he allegedly tried to get into the front seat of the taxi to confront him.

Fearing for his safety, Mr Mahmood dialled 999 and several police officers were sent to the scene.

At the trial at Worcester Magistrates Court on May 16, where Payne appeared charged with one count of racially or religiously aggravated harassment, prosecutor Shafquat Reaz said: "The altercation continued as the defendant tried to jump into the front seat of the car and got physical, while still using the racial language.

"When the police arrived, he said it again.

"This is a hate crime."

Payne was in danger of being sent to prison due to the racial nature of the offence, but the court heard how the circumstances of his personal life meant he was in a very stressful state on the night when the incident happened.

Representing Payne, Belinda Ariss said: "My client has a fairly complicated and stressful private life with his own issues he is seeking support for.

"He has to be a carer for other family members and has a 15 month-old son, as well as a recent family bereavement.

"The way he deals with these things is by drinking, which he accepts is not the right way to deal with issues.

"He is extremely remorseful and wants more help.

"He has an unenviable record of public order offences but he is trying to get more support from Swanswell."

Magistrates decided to order Payne to pay Mr Mahmood £100 for the emotional distress he suffered, as well as ordering him to carry out 100 hours unpaid work in the community as part of a 12-month community order.

Because of longstanding fines from previous convictions amounting to over £2,000, the court did not order Payne to pay a victim surcharge or court costs.