A THUG with a record of violent crimes who beat a former love rival on a petrol station forecourt was told by magistrates to “sort it out” as he was again spared jail.

James Stockwell, of Barnard Street, admitted assault by beating and criminal damage at Salisbury magistrates’ court on Friday.

The court heard Stockwell had a “pretty poor” record and was subject to a previous court order for battery at the time of the offence.

Prosecuting, Kate Prince said Shaun Smith was waiting for a lift near the Esso petrol station in Southampton Road on August 21, when he looked up to see Stockwell stood before him without a shirt on.

Stockwell, 24, told Mr Smith: “Take your shirt off and fight me like a man, you were shagging my baby mama.”

Mr Smith told Stockwell that he was no longer in a relationship with Stockwell’s ex-partner and that he would not fight him, before walking away.

But Stockwell followed him, punched him four times and eventually knocked him to the floor.

Stockwell then told Mr Smith: “It’s not over,” before picking up Mr Smith’s phone, which had fallen from his pocket, and throwing it onto the forecourt.

Defending, Bob Scott said the incident arose after Stockwell’s five-year-old son said Mr Smith had been “being nasty to him and smacking him”.

Mr Scott said Stockwell had “warned” Mr Smith to “stop hitting his son” but “this didn’t have an effect” and the five-year-old said it was still happening.

Stockwell “took matters into is own hands”, Mr Scott said.

Magistrates told Stockwell he had “a pretty poor record” for violent crimes after hearing that he had seven previous offences, four of violence, and that he had been subject to a community order at the time of the assault, for the offence of battery.

“You are rapidly heading towards a custodial sentence - sort it out,” the bench chairman added.

Stockwell received a two-month curfew order, between 6pm and 6am, and must complete an anger management and thinking skills course as part of a 24-month community order. He must also pay Mr Smith £300 compensation, to be deducted from his benefits at the rate of £10 per fortnight.