A POLICE officer from Essex who admitted saying a black man looked like a monkey has been cleared of using threatening words or behaviour.

Metropolitan Police constable Kevin Hughes, 36, claims his comments had nothing to do with the man’s race, and were simply related to a discussion about evolution.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how PC Hughes, from Brentwood, made the remarks after seeing a black man with “elongated arms” and movements allegedly like a monkey while on patrol with three colleagues in Newham, East London, on February 22.

The officer, who allegedly said black people had not evolved and “lived in mud huts in Africa”, told the court it was upsetting anyone would think he was racist.

His colleague, PC David Hair, 42, was also accused of telling another officer he was “going home to cook bananas”.

They were both found not guilty of using threatening words or behaviour to cause alarm and distress, and racially-aggravated harassment.

Senior District Judge Howard Riddle said that despite the comments being “unacceptable and offensive”, they were not a criminal offence.