A TEENAGER lashed out at a neighbour while wielding a claw hammer, a court heard.

The 53-year-old victim, who was said to have had difficulties with new neighbours over rubbish deposited in the street, was attacked by the 15-year-old as he was standing by his garden gate.

Durham Crown Court heard that on the day in question, the victim - described by David Crook, prosecuting, as "being proud of his surroundings"- became further perturbed when he noticed a three-piece suite deposited on a grass verge.

He suffered a blow to his temple from the hammer, while the youth also punched him in the face during the incident in Ennerdale Grove, West Auckland, last July.

Mr Crook said the incident came to an end when someone shouted that the police had been called.

The victim suffered swelling to his temple, a large abrasion to his upper arm, a jaw injury and cuts to his inner lip.

When arrested, the 15-year-old said he was breaking up a chair lift with the claw hammer at the time and accepted that in the argument with the neighbour he may have struck him with it as he waved it around.

He also accepted punching the man in the incident.

Mr Crook said police were seeking the imposition of an anti-social behaviour order (asbo) on the youth, who now lives elsewhere in the Bishop Auckland area.

But, Sam Faulks, mitigating, said he considered it "unnecessary and unwarranted in the circumstances".

He added that despite having suffered upheaval in his background, the youth was now in a stable environment living with his mother.

The youth, who admitted affray, was given a 12-month supervision order, including six months intensive supervision and surveillance by the Youth Offending Service.

Judge Richard Lowden agreed not to impose the asbo, but placed him on a 9pm to 7am home curfew, backed by an electronic tag.