Nightclub burglar racially abused delivery driver who caught him in the act - Leeds Crown Court

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A burglar racially abused a delivery driver who witnessed him carrying out a break-in at a West Yorkshire nightclub.

Richard Hunter-Smith also used a weapon to smash the driver's windscreen during the incident outside Big Fellas, in Pontefract.

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Leeds Crown Court heard Hunter-Smith forced open a metal shutter to get into the property, on Beastfair, in the early hours of October 26 this year.

The owner was alerted after an alarm was triggered.

He was able to access CCTV footage on his phone which showed the defendant dragging items from the nightclub into an alleyway.

Paul Nicholson, prosecuting, said Hunter-Smith took a till and a pot washing machine.

Electrical damage worth £5,000 was also caused.

Mr Nicholson said a newspaper courier stopped his van close to the premises as Hunter-Smith was outside with the stolen property.

Hunter-Smith approached the man and said to him: "You better not say owt".

He then shouted racial abuse at him and accused him of filming the burglary.

The defendant used a piece of metal to smash the windscreen of his van.

Police stopped Hunter-Smith as he walked towards Featherstone at 3.45am

The prosecutor said Hunter-Smith began "growling and swearing" at officers as he was arrested.

He spat in a officer's face when he was taken to a police station.

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The officer later gave a statement about the incident, saying: "It is a vile and disgusting act and utterly degrading."

Hunter-Smith, of no fixed adress, pleaded guilty burglary, racially aggravated common assault and criminal damage and assaulting a constable.

The court heard he has long criminal record which includes offences of robbery and blackmail.

Richard Canning, mitigating, said Hunter-Smith had pleaded guilty to the offences at an early stage.

He was jailed for 14 months.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: "It is one of the most hurtful experiences that a person can have, being subjected to racial or religious abuse.

"You would not appreciate that because, perhaps, you have never been subjected to that.

"These are serious offences."