A 53-year-old man has been fined in court for racially abusing a Salisbury shopper who asked him to respect social distancing in a supermarket.

Stuart Mayes, of Earls Court Road, Amesbury, became aggressive after a man in front of him at the till of the Aldi store on London Road asked him to stay two metres away.

Prosecutor Kate Prince told Salisbury Magistrates today (February 19) that when Mayes was asked to step back to respect social distancing, he started swearing and behaving in a threatening way.

He told the man 'I can't understand your English, I don't know why people come to this country when they can't speak English', magistrates heard.

The incident on May 30 last year continued in the car park of the store where the self-employed plumber damaged the victim's windscreen wiper.

Today (February 19) Mayes pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress. The offence was racially aggravated.

He also pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage.

In his defence, Mayes told the magistrates he was "thoroughly ashamed" of the incident and that he is not "racist".

He said he was "under the influence of Valium" when the incident happened, adding: "I did not set off that day to end up in trouble."

Passing sentence, the magistrates said: "This was a very nasty incident, it should never have happened.

"It was not only nasty for the person involved but for everybody around."

Mayes was ordered to pay £118.58 for the criminal damage offence and £180 compensation for the victim.

He was also given an 18 month community order and ordered to complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

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