CUMBRIA should not tolerate yobs who abuse public servants simply for doing their jobs.

That heartfelt plea was issued by a Carlisle based union boss who says that staff working on the county's rail services regularly face aggressive behaviour from customers.

Craig Johnston, a regional official with the RMT rail workers' union, spoke out after the prosecution of a 21-year-old train passenger who insulted and repeatedly swore at a guard who refused to sell him a child's ticket.

After failing to convince the guard on the Wetheral to Carlisle service that he was 15-years-old failed, Bradley Norman unleashed a tirade of abuse, Carlisle's Rickergate court heard.

He was arrested after victim Anthony Rain alerted police, who arrested when he arrived in Carlisle.

Norman admitted using threatening behaviour.

Amy Labram, prosecuting, outlined how the defendant boarded the Carlisle bound 4.15pm train at Wetheral Station on March 14.

"He requested a child's ticket," said the prosecutor.

"Mr Rain recognised Mr Norman as he has asked for a child's ticket previously.

"He suspected he was an adult and so asked for identification, but Mr Norman refused to pay for an adult ticket, saying he was 15."

As other train passengers looked on, Norman swore at Mr Rain, claiming that other guards sold him child tickets.

Fearing he may be assaulted, the guard chose not to pursue the issue, said Miss Labram.

Norman became angry again when the train pulled into Carlisle and he realised police were there.

Noting that the defendant has a previous conviction for possessing class B drugs, Miss Labram added: "The Crown say that this caused fear of immediate violence to the victim. Threats were directed at the victim because of his job and it also occurred inside the enclosed premises of public transport."

Addressing magistrates, Norman, from Great Corby, near Carlisle, said: "I should not have said that I'm child. It won't happen again

"I was wrong."

The defendant then went on to blame the guard, saying: "It's ridiculous."

He said he was kicked out of his mother's house but had now been allowed to return. He could not do unpaid work, he said, because he suffered from anxiety.

Imposing a £120 fine, the presiding magistrate told Norman: "You have shown no remorse whatsoever: you have come to court blaming everyone but yourself."

The defendant must also pay £85 costs.

Commenting after the case, Mr Johnston said: "This kind of thing is a regular occurrence for our members.

"They face verbal - and sometimes physical - abuse. Nobody else would put up with it in their workplace so why should they?

"I don't see why they should put up with it.

"Everyone makes mistakes but you need to show that you accept you've done wrong.

"We need to show a little less tolerance to people who abuse our public servants."