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Three more men were today fined and banned from attending football matches for five years after hurling racist insults at Blues star Dwight Yorke.


A total of four men have now been convicted of launching a sustained barrage of racist taunts at the striker during a match between Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City last month.

Shaun Baxter, 35, of Belper Street, Andrew Roberts, 19, and Brian Hargreaves, 20, both of Arron Avenue, all Blackburn, appeared before the town's magistrates and pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order offences.

Each admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of someone which was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress and which was racially aggravated.

The court heard around 10 minutes into the second half of the game at Ewood Park on November 21, Birmingham substitute Yorke had been warming up on the sidelines when people in the crowd began monkey chants and gesticulating towards him.

Former Blackburn player Yorke had expected some jeering from fans angry that he left the club this year but had not expected racist abuse, said prosecutor Francis McEntee.

He said: "Dwight Yorke expected some abuse. He expected to be called a Blackburn reject.

"What he didn't expect was the racist abuse that was meted out to him."

The court was played a DVD of the shamed men hurling racist taunts at the player.

Jobless Roberts sat with his head bowed while the DVD was played while the other two stared straight ahead.

Roberts admitted making monkey gestures and all three accepted shouting "black bastard" at Yorke but claimed they had only been following the lead of a fourth man, Jason Perryman.

Perryman, 22, of Chorley, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to a similar charge last month and was ordered to pay £1,075 in fines and costs. He was also given a maximum five-year football banning order.

Richard Prew, defending, said all the men were ashamed of their actions and Baxter had already written a letter of apology to Yorke and both teams.

He urged the court to be lenient with the men, saying the situation had been "overblown" following the race taunts during England's match against Spain in Madrid last month.

Baxter and Roberts were each fined £500 plus £80 costs, while Hargreaves was fined £200 plus £80 costs.

All the men were given a maximum five-year football banning order, meaning they will not be able to attend a match in England or Wales until 2009.

A fifth man, David Ashcroft, 21, of Brantwood Drive, Leyland, Lancashire, denied a similar charge at an earlier hearing and will return to court in the New Year.