A WOMAN who admitted being racially abusive to a taxi driver in Skipton has been fined and ordered to pay him compensation for his distress.

Nicola Currie, 46, of Chevin Drive, Skipton, appeared before Skipton magistrates to answer the charge which occurred on July 1 last year.

Prosecuting, Nadine Clough said Kashif Mahmood, a driver for Station Taxis, was parked in Keighley Road next to Sound Bar at 8.10pm that evening when two females approached his vehicle. He wound down his window and asked them if they needed a taxi.

Miss Clough said Currie told him his taxi smelled of cannabis. He told her he had been eating chocolate. He also suggested it could be the air freshener he had in the car but Currie did not accept this explanation and called him a deeply offensive and racist name.

Currie was interviewed by police on July 24 . She was shown mobile footage of the insulting exchange for which she said she was deeply sorry.

In mitigation, solicitor John Mewies said Currie had voluntarily gone to speak to police after a photograph of herself taken during the incident had been published on social media. The picture had been released by North Yorkshire Police as part of an appeal for information.

Mr Mewies said on the evening in question, his client, an administration officer, had been out with work colleagues attending a leaving party and during the course of the evening had, uncharacteristically, drank far more than she would normally do.

He added that although she had never taken cannabis, she knew what it smelled like and when challenging the taxi driver, was not convinced with his explanation. He had also pointed out that it was likely she could smell the air freshener he had in the vehicle.

"She was far from convinced and felt it was unsavoury and unnecessary for a vehicle to be in that condition.

"As soon as she said what she did she was remorseful. It was totally out of character."

Magistrates were handed a letter from the defendant and said they had noted the circumstances in which she had come forward to the police. They also noted her previous good character had now gone because of the incident.

She was fined £346 and and ordered to pay £75 compensation to the taxi driver for his upset, a surcharge of £138 and court costs of £85.