TWO men who shouted racist abuse at pizza shop workers have been told they will not be going to jail.

Mark Frederick Bennett, 20, and Jason Paul Woodbridge, 19, both of Stocksmoor Close, Darlington, yesterday pleaded guilty at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court to shouting racist, abusive and insulting words.

The incident took place in Northgate, Darlington, on September 22, after both men had an altercation with a delivery driver for the Pizza Box restaurant.

The court heard that the owner of the pizza shop and two employees, who were ethnic minorities, also became involved in the argument.

Toby Thomas, prosecuting, said the two defendants began shouting racist abuse at the men, and at one point the pizza shop owner was scared he was going to be assaulted and slapped one of them.

Robert Hutchinson, mitigating, said the incident did not have a racist motive and was sparked by the driving of the delivery driver, who was of English origin.

He added: "These young men both accept that their behaviour on the night was totally unacceptable."

Chairman of the bench, Colin Beadle, said custody would be considered for an offence like this, but accepted there were mitigating factors.

He asked that a pre-sentence report with a steering of a community penalty is prepared. The case was adjourned until January 19.