A VANDAL who used spray paint to daub a garage door with homophobic slurs has been fined £140.

Michael Parsons, 55, appeared at court in South Tyneside recently to admit the criminal damage.

On January 16 this year police were informed paint has been sprayed on a garage door on Lane Head in Ryton.

Officers identified Parsons from CCTV footage in the back lane in which the pensioner could be clearly seen committing the offence.

He was arrested but claimed he had just had foot surgery and required the use of crutches so could not have been responsible.

But he was left red-faced when police showed him CCTV of him leaving a nearby supermarket without his crutches.

Parsons had entered the store with them on his arms but accidentally left them in the shop before leaving unaided.

After being confronted with the footage, Parsons, of Greenfields, Ryton, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage.

He was given a conditional discharge at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court as well as the fine.

PC Ferenc Szilvasi said: “This mindless vandalism left the victim with significant damage to her door but it was the nature of the graffiti that was so upsetting. This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable.”

“He is a prolific criminal who showed absolutely no remorse and tried to claim that the person in the footage could not be him.

“The only reason he admitted the offence was because of the overwhelming evidence against him and I am glad we have secured a conviction.

“Magistrates ordered Parsons to pay the money he did because this was recorded as a hate crime and I hope that reassures victims.

“Being you is not a crime and nobody should be targeted for who they are. If you have been a victim of hate crime then please get in touch.”

A crime is considered to be a hate crime if someone has been targeted because of who they are their race, faith, religion, disability, gender identity, age and sexual orientation.

Anyone can report a hate crime – victims, families and friends, carers or someone unrelated to a victim who has been witness.

You can do this by calling police on 101 or by filling in an online reporting form at the Northumbria Police website.