A TAXI driver bringing a group of young men back to Blackburn after a night out was racially abused by two of them.

Blackburn magistrates heard they also caused damage to his taxi and one of them assaulted him after he stopped his vehicle short of their destination.

Bradley Andrew Lowe, 23, of Longton Street, Blackburn, and Zachary Benjamin Sanderson, 20, of Lower House Lane, Burnley, were both convicted after trial of racially aggravated threatening behaviour and racially aggravated criminal damage and Sanderson of racially aggravated assault of Mohammed Siddiki.

They were both sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, made subject to a community order for 12 months with 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £400 costs and £300 compensation to Mr Siddiki.

Philippa White, prosecuting, said Mr Siddiki picked up a group of young men outside a Preston nightclub at 3.40am and they asked to be taken to Blackburn.

On the way he had to stop the taxi because one of the males was hanging out of the window and when he resumed the journey two of them, the defendants, started shouting racist comments.

"The other four were trying to stop them but Mr Siddiki eventually stopped in Preston New Road after Sanderson had damaged an interior light and Lowe a seat," said Mrs White.

"He was pushed by Sanderson who told him to carry on driving.

"Mr Siddiki was scared he would be assaulted more seriously if he didn't."

The court heard both men had been convicted after trial and did not accept their guilt.