The BNP bullyboy

BARNSLEY BNP candidate Paul Harris has been convicted of threatening behaviour following a trial which dramatically exposes the party's bully-boy tactics.

Harris, aged 41, was found guilty of tearing anti-fascist newspapers from the hands of a Barnsley pensioner who was being held in a bear hug by another British National Party supporter.

Sheffield Magistrates' Court heard Harris was one of three BNP campaigners who leapt out of a car and attacked Joe Hayward, aged 67, and two companions, Pauline Haigh and Howard Turner, as they distributed the Searchlight newspaper in Monk Bretton.

The two other BNP men, Dean Strawson-Moreland, aged 39, and Dean Clayton, aged 25, both admitted threatening behaviour before the trial.

Harris, standing in Royston ward in this year's local elections, claimed he never said a word or laid a finger on anyone as his companions shouted and grabbed the trio in a terrifying bid to snatch their papers.

But he admitted pulling so hard at the papers in Mr Hayward's hands that he fell over backwards when they were suddenly released.

Trevor Griffiths, presiding, said all three were in it together. He said: "You said Strawson-Moreland and Clayton were running wild, but you could have walked away. Instead you chose to participate in threatening behaviour. Mr Hayward was being held in a bear hug and you moved in close and struggled with him."

Harris was fined 250 with 250 costs and ordered to pay 40 compensation to Pauline Haigh, whose mobile phone was smashed in the incident.

Dean Strawson-Moreland, of Brookfield Terrace, Carlton, had earlier been sentenced to a day's jail and ordered to pay 100 costs.

Last week he claimed to be the face of the BNP in Barnsley as it launched its campaign.

But the extremist right wing party hastily distanced itself from the thug when it was revealed he was a convicted criminal with a string of offences including kidnap, robbery, false imprisonment, blackmail and assault.

Dean Clayton, of Dodworth Road, Barnsley, was given a year's conditional discharge with 75 costs and also ordered to pay 40 compensation. The court also heard the warehouse worker had served a 15-month sentence for burglary and theft last year.