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A hairdresser has been sentenced to complete unpaid work after shaving an insulting word in the hair of a customer with severe learning disabilities.

On Friday 11 February 2011, a 49-year-old man was sent by his mother, who is his primary carer, to have his hair cut at a hairdressers on Stapleton Road.  The victim later attended church and was told that he had the word 'fool' shaved into the back of his head.

The matter was reported to police and the hairdresser, Michael Campbell, was arrested, charged and last month appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court.  He was convicted of common assault and today (Friday 4 November) was sentenced to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, pay compensation and court costs.

This was categorised as a hate crime because of the victim's disability and taken extremely seriously by Avon and Somerset Police.

Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Mai Wong from the 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."

If you have been the victim of a hate crime please contact Avon and Somerset Police on the non-emergency number 101.