A Hartlepool man has received a three-year banning order after racially motivated comments were made online.

Ryan Hurst, 26, of Dunbar Road, Hartlepool, was issued the banning order on Tuesday (April 16) at Teesside Magistrates Court, following comments which were made online on X in April 2023 following a Hartlepool United FC match against Crawley Town.

Hurst pleaded guilty to racially aggravated malicious communications.

Whilst no formal complaint was made regarding the matter, police worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring the case to court and convict the man.

Sergeant Dave Lester, of the Cleveland Police Football Operations Unit as part of the Matrix team, said: “The Football Operations Unit is determined to bring those people to justice who think it’s acceptable to make comments of a nature which is distressing to others, on social media or otherwise, at sporting events.

“Those people will be put before the courts and will face banning orders and criminal convictions.

“We take all incidents of this nature extremely seriously and will endeavour to take action wherever possible.”

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Rebecca Slade, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North East, said: “The comments made by Hurst in the wake of this match were deeply offensive and disgusting.

"Abuse of this type will not be tolerated and wherever offensive content is reported, and our legal tests are met, we will work closely with police partners to bring offenders to justice.

"In cases where such abuse is found to be a hate crime, the Crown Prosecution Service will also seek an uplift in the sentence for the offence from the court.”