A man has been jailed today for racially abusing footballer Romaine Sawyers online after the culprit was quickly tracked down by our dedicated football hate crime officer.

PC Stuart Ward launched an immediate investigation after being alerted to the offensive post from Simon Silwood in January this year.

The unacceptable comment was reported to us by the player’s club – West Bromwich Albion – who PC Ward promptly worked alongside to try and identify Silwood through their database.

Simon Silwood
Simon Silwood

It led to 50-year-old Silwood being traced and arrested at his home the same day as the racist social media posting was brought to our attention.

He was convicted of sending an offensive message under section 127 of the Communications Act following a trial at Walsall Magistrates Court earlier this month.

Silwood, of Randall Close, Kingswinford, was jailed for eight weeks today and ordered to pay £500 compensation and £500 costs. He hadalready been given a lifetime ban by West Bromwich Albion following the conviction.

PC Ward had only been in post as the UK’s first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit for a matter of weeks when the offence occurred.

He said: “Abusing anyone for the colour of their skin is disgusting and can never, ever be condoned. There’s no place for racism in football or society in general.

“Silwood is old enough to know such appalling behaviour is not only wrong, but is absolutely deplorable.

“Sadly we’ve seen a rise in online hate crime over the last 12 months and we won’t hesitate to take action against those responsible, as this case shows.

“As part of my role I’m working with partners to change this unacceptable culture of abuse and this includes education around discrimination.

“I know from personal experience how being a victim of racism hurts while offenders risk their own aspirations through getting a criminal record.

“I would like to thank Romaine and West Bromwich Albion for their assistance during this investigation.”

Anyone who has been a victim of a football-related hate crime, or has information about an offence, needs to make a formal report by via the Live Chat service on our website or by calling 101.