A MAN ranted at a support worker that he voted Brexit “to get immigrants like you out of my country”, a court heard.

Mark Bowden, 49, launched his tirade after Isha Stanworth declined his offer of a hug on June 9 this year.

He admitted racially aggravated harassment at Chester Magistrates Court yesterday and was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison.

Bowden, formerly of Brook Street, Chester, but now of no fixed abode, is said to suffer with alcoholism and paranoid schizophrenia.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Stanworth said she felt distressed and anxious after the incident and struggled at work.

Bowden, who has 89 previous convictions for 130 offences, was ordered to pay her £100 in compensation and must also pay a victim surcharge of £115.

Prosecutor Lionel Cope said the incident took place at Century House in Ellesmere Port after Bowden had been drinking cider.

Ms Stanworth, who had known Bowden for around 16 months, declined his request to “come and give me a hug, sweetheart”, saying it was against the rules.

He then turned aggressive, calling her names and telling her and her children to go back to Africa.

“I supported Brexit so I could get f***ing immigrants like you out of my country,” Bowden reportedly said.

Mr Cope said that Ms Stanworth then felt like breaking down crying.

Bowden was arrested and claimed in police interview that he had a “blackout” and could not remember anything of what he had said. He also apologised and said he was sorry.

Becky Hay, defending, said: “He is extremely apologetic for his behaviour and is thoroughly ashamed that he would say something like this to a member of staff.”

He had written to Ms Stanworth from prison to apologise, she added.