A RACIST who hated foreigners in his neighbourhood went on a maiming mission with a samurai sword - but was put in the frame by one of his targets.

Amateur photographer Robert Ossowski pictured Gareth Devlin, 28, running down the street with the weapon on his murderous rampage, a court heard.

Devlin was screaming that he would kill all the Polish people in Port Clarence, near Stockton, and yelled "come on" as he rushed at a group of them.

One of the men fled and was slashed across the back, but Mr Ossowski picked up his camera and took these shots of Devlin and his pal Joseph Smithson.

Teesside Crown Court was told today that the snapper's efforts - praised by a judge - led to the hooded hoodlums being identified by police.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby by said: "It is quite clear were it not for his quick-thinking and good work, the Crown would not have the evidence they do."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, asked for the Crown Prosecution Service or the Cleveland Police chief constable to write to Mr Ossowski to thank him.

Devlin, now of Nottingham Walk, Hartlepool, was jailed for five years after he admitted wounding with intent, affray and having an offensive weapon.

Smithson, 24, of Poplar Terrace, Port Clarence, admitted affray and was given a two-year community order with supervision and 120 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard that Devlin has 40 offences on a record which includes racially-aggravated criminal damage, affray and carrying a home-made machete.

Judge Bourne-Arton told the unemployed lout: "You took part in a very bad attack upon this Polish gentleman for reasons only you can understand."

George Hazel-Owram, mitigating, said: "His partner is expecting their child in February, and he knows he'll miss the first few years of that child's life.

"Thankfully, the injuries were not too serious. The wound was relatively minor and a full recovery has been made. It was also a single blow."

Aisha Wadoodi, for Smithson, said he had served the equivalent of an eight-month jail sentence on remand since the incident on the night of July 12.

Mr Cleasby said the Polish men had been drinking and watching a World Cup football match before standing outside their homes in the sunshine, chatting.

"Mr Marek Darek saw down the street, two males coming towards him. Both were wearing hooded clothing, and he noted one was carrying a long sword," he said.

"Mr Devlin was shouting 'come on' in a challenging fashion, inviting the Polish men to fight. He repeated the threat, saying 'I will kill you'.

"At the time of the violence, Devlin was issuing racial threats, threatening to kill all Polish people. The complainants were scared for their safety.

"One of the witnesses, to their great credit, grabbed a camera, and being a keen photographer, was able to take photographs of the assailants.

"That, in the end, proved to be the best evidence. It paints a graphic picture of what the complainants were faced with. Mr Smithson joined in."

Judge Bourne-Arton said: "Can the CPS or the chief constable write a letter to that man, sending the court's congratulations to him and thanks."