A MAN gave his friend a black eye because he suspected he had "grassed him up."

Blackburn magistrates heard Liam O'Reilly punched his mate when they met by chance in the street.

O'Reilly, 40, of the Salvation Army Hostel, Heaton Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to assaulting Michael Ashton-Owens and theft of air fresheners worth £190 from Morrisons.

He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £50 compensation to Mr Ashton-Owens and £190 compensation to Morrisons.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Mr Ashton-Owens had allowed O'Reilly to stay at his flat and when the police were looking for him they found him there.

"The defendant believed the other man had, in his words, grassed him up although Mr Ashton-Owens says that is not the case," said Miss Allan. "The aggrieved was walking along Addison Street when O'Reilly approached him and punched him in the face. He said he was a grass and then left."

Two days after that incident O'Reilly was caught on CCTV entering Morrisons and stealing air fresheners.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said the two men had grown up together and went to the same school.

"No doubt they will reconcile in due course," said Mr Taylor.