AN innocent man was subjected to an horrific assault after refusing to hand over a cigarette.
The victim was thrown into a wall, punched and kicked as he walked along Healey Street, in Layton, last November.
James Hardman was one of three men behind the vicious attack, which happened when the victim crossed the road to avoid his attackers after being asked for cigarettes he did not have.
Hardman, 24, of Spencer Road, Layton, was handed a two-year community order after pleading guilty to battery at Preston Crown Court.
Rachel Cooper, prosecuting, described how Hardman and his two accomplices had pushed the victim into a wall, pulled at his clothing and then punched and kicked him while he was on the ground.
The attack only stopped when the three men left because of all the yelling and shouting.
At the time of the assault Hardman was already the subject of suspended sentence for an offence of possessing heroin with intent to supply.
Tom Lord, defending, said: “Alcohol, it seems, is a catalyst for him getting into trouble.
“He has an unenviable record, but his last offence of violence was in July 2010.
“He says alcohol has been a problem for him through most of his adult life.
“He has managed to stop drinking.
“He is a capable young man when he puts his mind to it.”
Hardman was sentenced to 12 months’ supervision with an attendance centre requirement of up to 24 hours.
He must also pay £100 compensation, £100 costs and a £60 statutory surcharge.