A DUNFERMLINE sheriff has claimed some West Fife takeaway bosses and shopkeepers “play the racism card” in rows with customers.

Sheriff Craig McSherry made the comment in the town’s sheriff court last Wednesday when dealing with an incident of racism at an Indian takeaway in Oakley.

Andrew Dunsmore, 32, of Wilson Street, was found guilty of racist behaviour but is still pleading his innocence.

Although found guilty, Dunsmore denied that on April 28, at Spice of Life, Link Road, he did act in a racially-aggravated manner which caused, or was intended to cause, alarm and distress to a person, in respect that he did shout, swear, threaten violence and make racially-abusive comments. 

Sheriff McSherry said: “I can understand that shopkeepers may play the racism card, but two police officers saw him shouting and he made a gesture of cutting his throat and he is still maintaining his innocence.”

Defence solicitor Ian Beatson said that maintaining innocence was the instruction he had taken from his client.

“He recognises he was stupid in his conduct for something as trivial as a pizza,” he said. 

“He has an extremely limited recollection of the event. He is in full-time employment, provides for his family and would lose his job if he was to go to prison. 

“He hasn’t been in trouble since and I am asking the court if it would deal with it by other means.”

Sheriff McSherry said he had previously told Dunsmore he would find himself in custody if he didn’t change his position as two police officers had witnessed the incident.

However, he said he was persuaded by Dunsmore’s solicitor to give him a community sentence instead. 

As a direct alternative to prison Dunsmore was sentenced to 250 hours unpaid work, a 12-month supervision order and will pay £250 in compensation.