Football fan banned after racially abusing steward

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A football fan who racially abused a steward at a Luton Town game has been banned from attending matches for five years.

Footage was posted on social media of Thomas Meakin, 29, of Penrith Avenue, Shepshed, Loughborough, racially abusing a steward at Kenilworth Road after he was told to return to his seat during the Luton Town vs Nottingham Forest match on November 2 2019.

A Bedfordshire Police investigation identified Meakin, a Nottingham Forest supporter, who pleaded guilty to racially or religiously aggravated intentional harassment.

On October 9, at Luton Magistrates’ Court, Meakin was banned from Forest’s matches both home and away for the next five years.

He has also been banned from attending England international matches over the same period.

Meakin was fined £350, ordered to pay the victim £150 and a further £85 in court costs.

PC Richard Howlett, from the force’s football policing team, said: “These sort of attitudes and behaviour have absolutely no place at any football match.

“I would like to thank both Luton Town and Nottingham Forest for their help and cooperation in our investigation.”

Sergeant Carl Perri, from the Bedfordshire Police Hate Crime team, added: “No one should ever have to feel afraid or be subject to abuse because of who they are, how they look or what they believe in.

“This is a message we were reinforcing throughout last week’s Hate Crime Awareness Week.“This case should serve as a reminder that we will take a strong stance against racism and bring any offenders subjecting people to this sort of abuse to justice.”

If you want to report a hate crime you can contact Bedfordshire Police via https://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/report/ReportThere are a number of third party reporting centres in Bedfordshire as well, where people may feel more comfortable reporting hate crime incidents.

A full list of these is available on the force’s website.

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