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 and was arrested a short time later, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Hardy accused Mr Roberts of striking him, asked for him to be arrested and a police officer had to stand between the pair. The police then received infor-mation that the incident had been 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 had 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 and had been committed for sentence by magistrates.

The defendant, who had a record go-ing 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’ super-vision and the Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage It programme. He must pay £120 compensation.

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

He 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.”