Friends who racially abused staff at Cheadle takeaway spared jail

Two friends who waved a Union Flag and hurled racial abuse at staff at an Indian takeaway have been spared jail.

Former BNP member Robert Greensmith and his neighbour Leanne Reilly subjected staff at Cafe Rumi, in Cheadle, to a tirade of racial taunting after they were egged on by drinkers in a nearby pub.

North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court heard the pair had been listening to a singer at the Alton Castle pub, who had displayed the flag as part of their act.

Friends suggested Greensmith waved the flag outside the premises as a joke.

But now the pair have been banned from contacting staff at the High Street takeaway for a year.

They have also been hit with 12-month community orders and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work after they each admitted causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress to takeaway owner Zia Karim and other staff.

Zoe Speake, prosecuting, said: “On August 19 staff in the kitchen area were looking out of the window. Outside they saw these two defendants holding the Union Flag, shouting racial abuse towards the shop and pointing at them.

“One witness said Greensmith shouted, ‘White is right, get out of our country.’

“Reilly was reported to say, ‘There ain’t no black in the Union Jack’.”

They also used racist names to describe the staff, who later said the five-minute episode was ‘deeply insulting’.

Greensmith, aged 58, and his neighbour Reilly, aged 20, who live at addresses in Tape Street, Cheadle, were arrested and interviewed.

Gary Corbett, mitigating, said neither defendant had any similar offences on their record, and did not consider themselves racist.

Greensmith has not been in court since 1985, while Reilly’s last conviction was in 2010.

Mr Corbett said: “They were solely out that night to have a good time at the pub. They had both been drinking and foolishly took the decision to go over to the cafe.

“Both of them want to draw a line under this incident.”

Greensmith handed a letter to magistrates, while Reilly spoke in court. She said: “I really have changed my life. I’m a fully qualified youth worker and work with people from different ethnic backgrounds.

“This incident is completely out of character for me and I’m deeply sorry.”

Magistrates told the pair they could have been sent to prison.

Their 12-month restraining order bans them from contacting or communicating with staff at Cafe Rumi. They must also each pay £51 costs.

Aimi Redfern – This is Staffordshire