A MAN who attacked a drinker with a pool ball in a sock has walked free from court after a judge heard he had been taken in by a church.

Keith Anderson was captured on CCTV repeatedly hitting a man with the makeshift weapon in the beer garden of the King Johns Tavern, in Hartlepool, in August.

The 25-year-old rode off on a pushbike but was later arrested and found to be wearing only one sock.

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Anderson, of Brough Court, Hartlepool, told police during his interview: “I gave someone a bat and got caught.”

The victim declined to make a complaint, but Anderson was charged with possessing an offensive weapon and using threatening behaviour.

Deborah Smithies, mitigating, said her client had recently referred himself to a refuge at the Elim Living Waters Pentecostal Church, in Hartlepool, where he was being supervised 24 hours a day.

Miss Smithies said the church leader told her Anderson was making “excellent and radical progress”.

He had embarked on a programme of complete abstinence and had thrown away his old mobile phones so he could not be contacted by his former associates, she said.

“He’s made a radical break from his old life that he recognised himself was wholly destructive,” she added.

Anderson pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing.

Teesside Crown Court heard he had several previous convictions, including assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.

Sentencing him to eight months, suspended for two years, Recorder Edward Bindloss told the defendant: “I believe I can give you a chance.”

The defendant was made subject to an 18-month supervision order and told to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also issued with a six-month drink banning order preventing him from entering Hartlepool town centre between 9pm and 7am.