A KINGSWINFORD man charged after a police inquiry into online racist abuse of a Premier League footballer has denied a Communications Act offence.

Simon Silwood, aged 49, is accused of sending an offensive message to West Bromwich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers via social media in January of this year.

Dudley Magistrates' Court was told this morning (Thursday) that Silwood is alleged to have committed the offence on January 26 by sending "a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene and menacing character".

Silwood spoke only to confirm his personal details and enter a not guilty plea during the short hearing.

West Midlands Police charged Silwood earlier this month after an investigation carried out by PC Stuart Ward, who is the UK's first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit.

Stourbridge News: Romaine Sawyers. Pic - PARomaine Sawyers. Pic - PA

The court appearance comes a day after Sawyers issued a video message on the Premier League's website calling on social media users to think more about the impact that sending abusive messages can have on recipients.

Silwood, of Randall Close, Kingswinford, was granted unconditional bail until his trial at Walsall Magistrates' Court on September 9.