AN UNEMPLOYED man launched a racist attack on a job centre worker after he was asked to provide a doctor’s note for missing an appointment.

Mark Lester, of Sinclair Drive, became ‘frustrated and angry’ before he left a vile voicemail message on the employee’s phone saying: ‘You first class black ****. **** you, you black ******.’

The 53-year-old man was given a 12-month community order after pleading guilty to the offence at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, January 7.

The court heard how Lester had phoned the job centre on July 3 when he became ‘unhappy’ with the advice he was given by the victim’s colleague.

He was told he needed to provide a doctors’ note after missing a recent appointment.

He called the colleague a liar and became abusive when speaking to the victim, who after warning the defendant about his language, hung on up him.

Lester then called back and left her a voicemail message saying, “you first class black ****. **** you, you black ******.”

The court heard how an emotional Lester showed “great remorse”, leaving two further messages apologising for his behaviour and describing himself as a “horrible human.”

His solicitor noted that the defendant is “at a loss to explain why he said such things” and that members of his own family are mixed race.

It was also revealed that he had been drinking at the time of the offence, with his probation worker later adding that Lester “does have a bit of an alcohol issue”, which stemmed from the loss of his parents and difficulties with a relationship that left him looking after three children on a full-time basis.

His solicitor concluded: “This would appear to be a one-off as he was upset and frustrated and had had a drink.”

In sentencing, magistrates described the offence as a “nasty incident which harmed significantly the victim” before handing Lester a 12-month community order.

He must complete ten Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and 180 hours of unpaid work, reduced from 240 for his early guilty plea.

Magistrates also ordered him to pay a £90 victim surcharge and £20 in costs.