A SHOP owner who repeatedly hit a volunteer in the back with a metal pole has been given a curfew.

Preston Crown Court heard how Mohammed Khalid, 48, attacked victim Richard Mason over a £70 debt at his Fruit and Veg store in Preston New Road, Blackburn.

Prosecuting, David Clarke said: “Mr Mason had volunteered at the Fruit and Veg shop for five hours a week.

“On June 9, last year, he told Khalid that he would not be able to work that evening as he was going out with people for dinner.

“He was told not to come back to work but return £70 that he owned the defendant.

“Mr Mason went home and within 10 minutes he received a phone call from one of the defendant’s employees telling him to come back.

“When he arrived the defendant was in the process of winding in a canopy with a five foot metal pole. He asked for his money back but Mr Mason only had £20, which he offered the defendant.

“It was at that point that the defendant put the pole around his neck and pulled it in a way that pulled him towards him.

“He was told by Mr Mason to stop or he would hit out, and he responded by swinging the pole forcefully and hitting Mr Mason in the back, ripping his jacket.

“He then swung it again, hitting him again. Mr Mason then left the scene, in pain and in tears.

“He suffered bruising and a puncture wound that has left a scar.”

Mr Clarke said Mr Mason, who claims disability benefit, would be seeking a restraining order against Khalid. The prosecutor said the shop is close to Mr Mason’s address and Khalid had repeatedly attempted to speak with him.

Khalid pleaded guilty to a single count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Defending, Kevin Donnelly, said: “The defendant said he hoped he and Mr Mason would be able to put the situation behind them and remain friends.

“However, I am confident that he will respect the restraining order.”

In summing up, Recorder Kevin Grice said he regarded the assault as an ‘isolated incident’.

He said: “You took the law into your own hands and used a metal pole to inflict injury on Mr Mason.

“This is a case of high culpability since you used a weapon.

“However it is also a case of lesser harm as, fortunately for everyone, the injury was not more severe.

“I do not suggest a custodial sentence as I believe a community order will suffice.

“I regard this as an isolated incident, a case of his temper marring an otherwise good character.”

Khalid, of Queens Road, Blackburn, was made subject of a three month curfew between 8pm and 6am.

A two-year restraining order was also imposed and Khalid was ordered to pay his victim compensation.