A CHRISTIAN street preacher from Creech St Michael has been found guilty of "bullying and berating" the public while giving sermons using a loudspeaker in Taunton town centre last year.

Michael Overd, was convicted of breaching a public order offence for using threatening or abusive words at Bristol Crown Court this morning, (March 23), following a two-day trial earlier this month.

He was cleared of a second similar offence and a third charge of causing racially aggravated harassment.

During the trial, the court heard how Overd had quoted a verse from Leviticus at a gay Christian during one of his sermons, which says that homosexuality is an abomination.

He was fined £200 for offence, a victim surcharge of £20, and £930 court costs. Overd loudly refused to pay victim compensation to his victim of £250, but magistrate Shamim Qureshi threatened him with a prison sentence.

After consulting with his barristers he agreed to pay the compensation but told Mr Qureshi, who sentenced him, to "beware of God's judgement".

Mr Qureshi said that Overd enjoyed testing the limits of free speech.

During the trial earlier this month, the court heard how there had been a large number of complaints from the public about Overd's preaching.

Shop owners say he has cost them thousands of pounds in trade.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: "We respect the judgement of the court.

"This doesn’t mean street preaching is prohibited in Taunton or anywhere else in Avon and Somerset, but preachers need to be mindful of the words they use and the manner in which they are said."