A Plymouth man has been barred from all of the city centre’s pubs for 18 months after hurling anti-gay abuse at a group of women.

Richard Ham, 38, was drinking in The Bank pub at Derry’s Cross in February last year when he began verbally abusing the women, who were sitting at the next table.

According to the Plymouth Herald, Ham told the barman: “Don’t serve those lesbians, I’m trying to have a quiet drink.”

When another patron, John Jones, intervened, a fight broke out between the two men. Bar staff stopped the fight and Mr Jones was later acquitted of affray.

Ham was arrested and told police he was drunk. He added: “I’m just a heterosexual man having a drink – we don’t need gays in here.”

Plymouth crown court heard that he had previously appeared in court seven times and had a 2004 conviction for being drunk and disorderly.

As well as the pub ban, Ham was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid community work and ordered to pay £180 prosecution costs.