Northampton Town racist tweeter Ben Townsend to pay players £500

Ben Townsend
Image caption The labourer had 106 followers on Twitter at the time of the offence

A man who admitted sending racist tweets to two Northampton Town footballers has been ordered to pay £500 compensation to each of them.

Ben Townsend, 25, admitted two charges of sending an offensive message by a public communications network.

Cheltenham Magistrates' Court heard Townsend targeted players Adebayo Akinfenwa and Clarke Carlisle on Twitter on 7 and 8 May.

The labourer had 106 followers on Twitter at the time of the offence.

'Disgusted and embarrassed'

The court was told the tweets, sent after a match between Cheltenham Town and Northampton Town on 5 May, were "highly offensive and racist".

In the tweet to Mr Akinfenwa, Townsend used the hash tag "monkey boy".

His solicitor told the court his client was "disgusted and embarrassed" by his actions and that he was "keen to repair the damage that he's done".

District judge Martin Brown ordered Townsend to pay each player £500 compensation for the messages, which he said were "equally disgusting and racist".

He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

Townsend, of Cheltenham, was arrested on 8 May in a joint operation between Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire Police.

A spokesman for Cheltenham Town FC said the club has a "strong stance against any kind of racism on or off the pitch".

"We welcome the conclusion of today's trial but we will also be implementing a ban of our own.

"Cheltenham Town is a family friendly football club and any form of racism is completely unacceptable," he said.

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