The landlady of a coastal Devon pub has been given a 12-month conditional discharge for calling a rival hotel-owner a “faggot”.

Gail Troughton, 53, of The Waverly Pub, Ilfracombe, pleaded guilty to harassing Robert Dandridge using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, reports the North Devon Journal.

Sonia Oldakowska, for the prosecution, told the court that relations between the parties, who are rival business owners, had become tense prior to the incident.

Mr Dandridge owns The Capstone Hotel and Restaurant, on the same street as The Waverly Pub.

But in May of this year, Ms Troughton employed the slur as she passed the hotelier in the street.

Ms Oldakowska said: “The aggravating feature here is that the word ‘faggot’ is a homophobic term.

“The victim is now worried about going out on errands for fear of being harassed.

“He says he just wants to run his business in peace.”

It was suggested that Mr Danderidge’s complaints were damaging for business at the Waverley Pub.

Ms Troughton’s defence said: “Every time a complaint is made the police turn up at the Waverley Pub which has resulted in a considerable loss of business for my client.

“These complaints appear to be very personal.”

Laurence Overend, who was representing Ms Troughton, said: “This case centres around the uttering of one single word, which my client accepts.

“She is not homophobic but says her judgement was clouded in the heat of the moment.”

Judith Killen, magistrate, said: “I am not making an order for costs as your means form shows you have been unemployed since 2007 and have no money.”

In 2009, the DVLA removed a number plate from an auction at the last minute because of its resemblance to the word.