A MAN has admitted racially harassing a phone technician in a dispute arising from the purchase of a mobile device.

Paul Martin, 51, was told, “all sentencing options” remain open on his return to Durham Crown Court next month, after he changed his plea on the day his case was due to be heard as a trial.

The defendant, of Hirst Court, Spennymoor, denied racially aggravated harassment at a hearing in January.

He was said to have harassed an Indian-born man, which included making frequent visits to his Spennymoor home and contacting him by electronic communication, which was said to be racially aggravated, between February 1 and March 3, 2018.

The case was adjourned for trial this week, but on the scheduled first day, Martin changed his plea and admitted the charge.

His counsel, Lewis Kerr, asked for preparation of a pre-sentence probation report on the defendant.

Mr Kerr told Judge Christopher Prince: “He’s relatively lightly convicted, the last in 2008, with a caution in 2012.”

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said: “We don’t seek to say he was racist, or that he was motivated by racism, but he has shown hostility marked by race towards the end of the overall course of conduct.”

Judge Christopher Prince agreed to adjourn until May 17 for the pre-sentence report and bailed Martin, telling him: “All sentencing options will remain open.”