A LOUT who punched and kicked a man on the ground after he attacked him in a Burnley subway has been spared jail.

Matt Hardy, 42, had confronted Michael Roberts, slapped him and a scuffle broke out.

The victim went to the ground and was then punched and kicked after he was down. Hardy was restrained by a friend, was removed from the scene and was arrested a short time later, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told Hardy was stopped as he was emerging from the underpass and was spoken to by police.

He accused Mr Roberts of striking him, asked for him to be arrested and the officer had to stand between the pair. The police then received information from communications that the incident had been 'graphically' caught on CCTV and the defendant was arrested. He was taken to the police station, interviewed and made no comment.

Mr Roberts was taken to hospital and was found to have suffered bruises to his head, face and ribs. He had pain and blurred vision in his left eye.

Prosecutor Michael Wallbank told the court: "He says he had a lot of pain in the left side of the body, no doubt where he was kicked."

Hardy, of Cleaver Street, Burnley, had admitted assault causing actual bodily harm last June, and had been committed for sentence by magistrates.

The defendant, who had a record going back to 1990 and is said to be suffering from a mental disorder, was given eight months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with 18 months' supervision and the Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage It programme. He must pay £120 compensation.

Martin Hackett, defending Hardy, said the offence was unpleasant . He added: "He does have convictions, but his last conviction for violence was in 2005."

The barrister said Hardy was under the care of the community mental health team.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson said the suspended sentence provided the best protection for the public.

Judge Gibson told the defendant: "It punishes you for what you did and it's the best way, in all the circumstances, justly, of dealing with the case."