An alcoholic thug who tore off a Sikh man's turban in Oxford has been convicted of racially aggravated assault.

Kenneth Pollard, 56, of Speedwell Street, Oxford, denied the attack on Rattandeep Singh Ahluwalia, 26, from India, but was found guilty after a trial on Monday.

Tim Boswell, prosecuting at Oxford Magistrates Court, said: "The turban was torn off with such force it pulled some hair out of Mr Ahluwalia's head.

"Mr Pollard threw the turban on the ground and left the scene."

Mr Boswell said the incident, on May 28, was caught on CCTV and Pollard was arrested a few days later.

At the time, the Oxford Mail reported how up to 40 onlookers did nothing as the turban was torn off.

Mr Ahluwalia, giving evidence in court, said: "I was near Carfax, near the HSBC bank in the city centre.

"I heard someone shouting across the road. There was a man copying my body movements.

"After a while he came across the road, looking in my face, shouting and saying things I tried to ignore."

Mr Ahluwalia said he thought Pollard had gone when he felt him grab his turban.

He said: "It is the most embarrassing thing for a Sikh to have their turban taken off in front of unknown people.

"He had said to me 'you are a Paki, then he said, 'no you are a Hindu'."

The turban is a religious gift to all Sikhs, from their guru.

Pollard said he had a harmonica and had been intending to go busking. He claimed Mr Ahluwalia had called him a beggar.

When asked why he ripped the turban from Mr Ahluwalia's head, he said: "It was temper, it was a reaction."

Jane Malcolm, defending, asked Pollard: "When you took Mr Ahluwalia's turban off did you think it was in any way racist?"

Pollard said: "No, not at all."

Pollard admitted he had drunk a bottle of port or wine and a couple of pints of beer that day.

He said: "I am an alcoholic. That (amount of drink) might sound a lot, but that would just make me joyful. I wasn't drunk."

The court heard that in October last year, Pollard had been given a conditional discharge for causing harassment, alarm or distress which was racially aggravated. He also admitted he was in breach of a conditional discharge for being drunk and disorderly.

Sentencing was adjourned until Monday.

Speaking after the trial, Mr Ahluwalia, a former Oxford Brookes University student said: "Ten days before this incident I got a work permit and was looking for a job, but that stopped because of this whole thing.

"I was shaken up. I was shaken up while I was giving evidence. I am glad that it is over and I am really happy he has been found guilty.

"I used to regularly walk home late at night, but I don't have the courage to do that any more."