Plymouth's top cop speaks out after sentencing of Wells and Watterson
THE city's top police officer, Chief Supt Andy Bickley, said racism had no place in Plymouth.
Responding to the case, he said: "These offences were extremely serious and led to a thorough police investigation undertaken by specialist hate crime detectives. The evidence was presented to the court and we've finally seen convictions.
"I'd like to thank the witnesses who had the courage to give evidence and support our investigation. It was a hugely intimidating and frightening experience for the witnesses and the family.
"Many in the community may question the severity of sentences and the message it sends.
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"It's not for the police to question the decision of the courts.
"However, the sentences should not in any way detract from how seriously we have taken this case and the efforts we've made to bring it to court for the evidence to be presented.
"A conviction for racism is nothing to be proud of and a shadow of shame will haunt them for the rest of their lives. The victims have been supported throughout the case by police and other agencies. It is shameful this level of intimidation and hate contributed to their decision to leave the city. We've lost not only a business, but also a hard-working family.
"The majority of Plymothians work hard to make this a welcoming city and we mustn't lose sight of this.
"I will not tolerate or accept this kind of criminality. Those that choose to do this or support it in any way need to know there will be no place to hide.
"People who are victims of any kind of hate crime can contact police, or our partner agencies or Crimestoppers and they will be supported."