Sunderland fan Peter Copeland
Sunderland fan Peter Copeland sent racist tweets

A Sunderland fan has admitted sending racist tweets in court after engaging in "banter" with a Newcastle fan.

Peter Copeland, 29, ended up having a full-blown argument with the other man before making derogatory comments about Newcastle strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, who are both from Senegal.

Copeland, who lives in West Rainton, Durham, admitted two offences under the Malicious Communications Act in Sunderland magistrate's court.

Peter Anderson, prosecuting, said: "He accepted he had gone way too far."

The court heard Copeland claim he was not racist and was merely trying to aggravate the other man.

Ruth Forster, defending, said the argument had begun harmlessly before escalating. Her client, she said, made a "stupid mistake".

"From the outset Mr Copeland has been extremely remorseful," Forster told the court.

"This case may act as a stark reminder that as soon as a comment is posted online it becomes available for the masses to see.

"He never intended his comments to reach a worldwide audience."

Copeland is due to be sentenced on 27 February.

Thomas Eastic, chairman of the bench, adjourned the case for sentencing. He said a medium-level community order was being considered.

Neither Newcastle United or Sunderland FC were available for comment.