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Man receives community order after racially abusing pharmacist


Man receives community order after racially abusing pharmacist

A Hartlepool man has been given an 18-month community order after pleading guilty to racially aggravated harassment over an incident in a branch of Rowlands Pharmacy last November.

Ben Manuel, 28, appeared in Teesside Magistrates’ Court last Thursday (January 26) charged with racially aggravated harassment, criminal damage and possession of the class C drug pregabalin, having pleaded guilty to all three charges.

On November 22 last year, Mr Manuel came to a branch of Rowlands in Stockton to collect his mother’ medication. Prosecutor Chris Tame said Mr Manuel started shouting, claiming there was a problem with her prescription.

“He then became verbally abusive and blamed the pharmacist. He started swearing in the store and [the victim] tried to calm him down,” said Mr Tame.

He then shouted racist abuse at the pharmacist before being arrested, with police finding three strips of pregabalin tablets on his persons. He also damaged a wall in his cell while in police custody.

Defending, Paul Dixon said: “There was an argument and he fully accepts that the red mist descended and he said some things which he now regrets.

“To his credit he made full admissions in interview with the police.” 

Mr Manuel lost a leg in a motorcycle accident in 2019 and took pregabalin to manage his pain, Mr Dixon added.

Passing down the sentence, deputy district judge Jayne Bryan said: “The incident in the pharmacy was very unpleasant for [the pharmacist], he did not deserve to be spoken to like that.”

As well as receiving an 18-month community order that requires him to complete 20 rehabilitation days, Mr Manuel was told to pay £200 in compensation for court costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

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