A ROBBER nicknamed ‘dangerous’ by his friends has been jailed for four years after a violent attack on a lone male walking home from the pub.

Anthony Cooke reduced his victim to tears as he kicked and punched him on the floor, leaving him with a broken front tooth, a split lip and bruising to his face.

Durham Crown Court heard yesterday how Cooke had watched the young man enter the Wheatsheaf pub, on Durham Road, Chilton, to purchase bottles of beer to take back to his brother's house where he had been drinking.

He was short of cash so left to go to the cash machine outside, before he returned, made his purchased and began walking home.

On his way home he noticed Cooke at a bus stop who began following him, before chasing him and striking him in the head with his fist.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said: “He punched him from behind, making contact with his left temple. The victim fell to the ground and the defendant began shouting ‘give me your money’.

“He then began punching him, at least four times in the neck, shoulder and face. The victim tried to cover his head but felt further punches and kicks and the defendant continued to shout ‘give me your f****** money.’

“The victim was crying at this point and said he was very scared. The defendant then left with the bag of alcohol worth £22 and his mobile phone.”

Stephen Hamill, representing Cooke, said the nickname ‘dangerous’ was in reference to 'Dangerous Brian' – a character created by comedian Brian Conley – and the fact that Cooke was “clumsy and a danger to himself, not anybody else”.

He added: “The defendant is completely ashamed of his actions and describes them as disgusting.

"He says he has no words for what he has put the victim through and that he hopes he knows how sorry he is.

“There was little evidence of planning. It was a decision taken by the defendant whilst he was intoxicated.”

Cooke, of Durham Road, Chilton, pleaded guilty to one charge of robbery on the evening of Thursday, February 8, 2018.

The 33-year-old appeared at court via video-link from prison, having been arrested in April on a bench warrant which was issued after his failure to appear at court for a plea hearing on January 9.

Recorder Gavin Doig jailed Cooke for four years.

He said: “You followed him [the victim], chased him and punched him to the floor."You went through his pockets, you stole his iPhone and the bag he was carrying.

“This was a young man who had to provide ID to purchase alcohol. I hear you are genuinely ashamed of yourself and rightly so. You are too old to be behaving like this and longer sentences will follow if you offend again.”