A MAN who beat up and threatened an elderly newsagent has been jailed and barred from his shop for two years.

Raymond John Wilson, who at 21 already had a record of 82 criminal offences, attacked Hans Kukreja following a row at his Darlington shop.

Tom Mitchell, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that on June 6 Wilson had gone to buy cans of lager at Parkgate News, in Parkgate.

But when he left, he began to pull down the security shutters on the windows.

Mr Kukreja followed him out with his walking stick and told him to stop or he would call the police, to which Wilson replied: "Go on call the police - hit me, go on."

Later, Mr Kukreja was with his wife in nearby Borough Road when Wilson called him a "black bastard" and challenged him to hit him with his stick.

Wilson then hit Mr Kukreja in the mouth and grabbed his stick. The newsagent fell to the ground and Wilson jumped on him several times.

Mr Kukreja reported the attack to the police and they arrested Wilson and planned to hold an ID parade.

But before that could be held, Wilson returned to the shop, on June 17, and threatened the shopkeeper.

Mr Mitchell said: "He said he was a dangerous man who was going to hurt Mr Kukreja and also urged him not to pick him out of the parade.

"The overall effect was that he was suddenly more fearful for the safety of himself and his family."

The court heard that Wilson had a string of previous convictions, including assault, handling stolen goods and criminal damage, and had been jailed for six months in September for burglary and shoplifting.

He admitted charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intimidation and resisting a police officer in the execution of his duties.

Wilson, of Shakespeare Road, Darlington, had previously denied threatening to destroy or damage the shop and racially aggravated assault, charges which were left on file.

Adrian Dent, mitigating, said Wilson was not a racist, but had a difficult childhood after being placed into care at ten. He said his offending was fuelled by drink.

Judge Peter Bowers jailed Wilson for 30 months and also imposed an order banning him from Parkgate News for two years.