A man from Hayes has pleaded guilty to racial and homophobic harassment of a conductor while travelling on a train.

Billy Chamberlain, 34, of Cranbrook Close, tried to avoid paying for a fare by pretending he had no cash and was getting off at the next stop when first questioned by the conductor, who was mixed race, on the Greater Anglia service between Norwich and London.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard how the conductor had agreed to let him stay on the train and get off without paying as he was the only member of staff on board and did not want to aggravate the situation.

But as the train went past Manningtree, the conductor noticed Chamberlain was asleep and woke him because he was concerned he may have missed his destination.

Chamberlain then revealed he was going to London, so the conductor told him he had to get off at Colchester if he could not pay the fare.

Chamberlain then launched into a racist and homophobic rant, including telling the conductor that “this country belongs to us”.

When he was informed the police were going to be called, Chamberlain said they would need eight officers to get him off the train, the court was told.

Police arrived at North Station, Colchester, and Chamberlain also insulted a Scottish officer along the lines that he should not have been allowed over the border.

In an interview, Chamberlain, a highways engineer, told officers he thought his treatment had been “a bit much,” but he admitted racial and homophobic harassment.

Selena Dines, defending, said Chamberlain was travelling home early from a family holiday in Norfolk after a row with his partner.

She said: “He had a few drinks because he was upset and drank far more than what was reasonable.

“He had his bank card and has no idea why he didn’t just buy a ticket.

“He is absolutely mortified at what he has done and cannot believe he behaved in that way and wants to apologise to those involved - it was spur of the moment.”

Following a meeting with Chamberlain, a probation officer said she did not believe he was racist.

Magistrates gave Chamberlain a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay compensation of £150 to the conductor for the incident which took place just after 10pm on May 12.