A MAN has been spared immediate jail for attacking another reveller with a pool ball stuffed inside his sock.
Keith Anderson, 25, hit the victim several times with the improvised weapon after trouble flared in a beer garden.
Anderson pleaded guilty to charges of possessing an offensive weapon and of a public order offence.
Teesside Crown Court heard how the weapon offence merited custody.
But a judge suspended the prison sentence after hearing how Anderson had sought to turn his life around by moving into a church refuge.
Describing the incident on August 5, prosecutor David Crook, said: “A group of males became involved in a confrontation in a beer garden at the rear of King Johns Tavern in Hartlepool town centre.
“The defendant was captured on CCTV in possession of a white sock with a pool ball inside.
“He used that to hit another man. The man was hit several times with that sock before the defendant rode away on a pedal cycle and apparently discarded the sock and pool ball.”
When Anderson was arrested shortly after he was only wearing one sock.
The victim did not press charges for the assault.
Deborah Smithies, mitigating, said Anderson had undergone a “radical change” since moving into a church refuge and rehab centre where he is supervised 24 hours a day.
She said: “I ask the court to recognise the defendant himself of his own volition made a radical break in the pattern of offending that he realised himself was wholly destructive.”
Anderson, who has a young son, is also taking an NVQ cooking course.
Anderson, of Brough Court, Hartlepool, was given eight-months prison which was suspended for two years and 18 months probation.
He must also complete 100 hours unpaid community work.