Tougher sentences are being handed out for hate crime offences in South Yorkshire.
The Crown Prosecution Service revealed today that 1,814 sentences handed out in courts across England and Wales between January and April this year were increased because they were hate crimes motivated by prejudice.
In one South Yorkshire case highlighted by the CPS, a disabled man fell to the ground after another man deliberately moved his wheelchair away as he was attempting to sit back down.
The defendant pleaded guilty to assault by beating and was sentenced to a six week curfew, which was raised from four weeks.
He was also ordered to pay £250 in compensation to his victim.
The latest South Yorkshire figures available, for 2014 -15, show that there were 246 hate crime prosecutions that year, of which 213 - 87 per cent - led to convictions.
Crimes which are eligible for a tougher sentence are any motivated ‘wholly or partly’ by hostility based on perceived religion, race, sexual orientation or disability.
The increased sentences handed out so far this year range from extended prison terms to longer community punishments,
Gerry Wareham, Chief Crown Prosecutor in Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “These longer sentences are a powerful way of sending the message that hate crime is viewed very seriously in the eyes of the law.
"I would encourage all victims to report hate crimes as we can and do make every effort to ensure that those responsible are held fully accountable.”