A man who went berserk in the reception area at Blackburn Town Hall has been jailed for 18 weeks.

Blackburn magistrates heard Paul Proctor shouted racist abuse at reception staff, head-butted and punched security screens and damaged various items of equipment.

A senior member of staff who came to assist reception staff was threatened with violence and feared he was going to be assaulted.

Proctor, 48, of Clayton Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to two charges of racially aggravated threatening behaviour, criminal damage to computers, check-in machines, signage and chip and pin machines and common assault of Ross McQueen and Anthony Keogh. He was jailed for 18 weeks.

Lancashire Telegraph: Paul Proctor Paul Proctor (Image: Lancs Police)

District Judge Alexandra Preston said Proctor had behaved in a "disgraceful" way.

"This was a sustained incident during which you were abusive and threatening towards public servants who were simply doing their job. It is depressing to me that public areas like this need protective panelling but they do because of people like you."

Henry Prescott, prosecuting, said when Proctor first entered the town hall he was aggressive and abusive and said he wanted to see the Mayor. He was heard to say: "I hate Muslims."

He was racially abusive towards a female receptionist who was so concerned she pressed the panic button.

A senior member of staff came to assist and Proctor responded by trying to get over the security screen, shouting he was going to kill the other man.

"All the victims were on duty at the time, trying to serve the community," said Mr Prescott.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said the trigger to the incident had been a delay in the payment of his client's benefits.

"He was on his way to try and sort things out when he met some friends and unfortunately consumed a large amount of alcohol," said Mr Taylor.

"He went to the bank and then at some point decided it would be a good idea to go to the town hall and sort out his housing issues.

"He says that because of the alcohol and everything that had gone on he simply lost his head," said Mr Taylor.

"He accepts it was a very unpleasant incident in a public building."