A MAN who racially aggravated a taxi driver has narrowly avoided jail.

Todd Jennings, 23, racially assaulted the taxi driver inside the vehicle in Stockton earlier this year.

The driver got out of the taxi and called for help at a nearby building.

Whilst the driver was seeking help, Jennings had gotten out of the taxi and caused damage to the door, whilst shouting racial abuse at the driver.

Jennings was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for one year, and must complete a rehabilitation requirement of 10 days.

He was ordered to pay court costs of £620, compensation to the victim of £180 and a victim surcharge of £115.

A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said: "Everyone has the right to live without the fear of abuse, whether verbal or physical.

"Hate Crime will not be tolerated towards any person in Cleveland."