A Bristol-based barber who cut the word ‘fool’ into the hair of a man with learning disabilities has been sentenced to complete 200 hours unpaid work over the next 18 months.

Michael Campbell was found guilty of common assault for cutting the insulting word into the hair of Michael Ricketts, who has communication difficulties and non-specific severe learning disabilities which Campbell was aware of.

This case was treated by Avon and Somerset Police as a hate crime because of Ricketts’ disabilities. Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Mai Wong from Avon and Somerset Police’s Hate Crime Unit said: “Michael Campbell has taken advantage of a man who was vulnerable and trusted the people he came into contact with. He has also caused distress and upset to the local community who are protective of someone who clearly needs a lot of support. “Avon and Somerset Police take hate crimes extremely seriously and will thoroughly investigate all reported incidents. We believe that some hate crimes are not reported as the victims are vulnerable and do not have the confidence to contact the police. “I hope that this case will encourage victims and their carers to report incidents knowing we will listen to them and thoroughly investigate their concerns.”