AN ALDERHOLT couple who attacked their Pagan neighbour after becoming fed up with his noisy rituals every full moon have been spared jail.

Mark and Anne Denyer saw red when druid witch John Bennett conducted his latest back garden ceremony that involved chanting and rhythmic beating of drums.

Mr Denyer exchanged insults over the fence with Mr Bennett, who goes by the Pagan name of Bearheart, before storming round to his bungalow with his wife.

Mrs Denyer, 52, armed herself with an umbrella which she used to hit the bearded druid over the head.

Her 56-year-old husband had grabbed a carving knife from the kitchen and made a 'short jab' with it towards his victim. Mr Bennett suffered superficial injuries.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard the Denyers had never been in trouble with the police before the incident, which occurred at a park home estate in Alderholt.

Mr Denyer, a lorry driver, and his wife, denied charges of unlawful wounding but were found guilty following a trial. They were handed suspended prison sentences The court heard the Denyers moved to Hillbury Park in February 2017 for a peaceful and tranquil life.

Their £150,000 property backed on to Mr Bennett's home that he shared with his Pagan partner Samantha Hathaway.

The couple are members of the Clan of the Pheryllt which are inspired by ancient druids who practised alchemy in the Welsh mountains.

The Denyers soon took exception to the 'disturbances' from Mr Bennett's property.

They had complained to the park owners about the rituals but had never spoken directly to Mr Bennett until the evening of November 4 last year when they confronted them.

The fracas was witnessed by Samantha Hathaway, who became distraught at seeing blood.

Judge Jonathan Fuller said: "The depth of the injury is unclear, suffice to say Mr Bennett is a 22-stone man of very big build with a big belly. The knife went in sufficiently far to penetrate the abdominal muscle but not the peritoneal cavity."

Thomas Evans, defending Mr Denyer, said the incident was completely out of character for his client.

He said: "This is a man who has lived a long and fruitful life without causing any problems whatsoever. He has never acted in the way which he did on that day before.

"It was a moment of madness borne out through a developing situation with his neighbour.

"They initially tried to deal with it in the correct manner - letters and complaints that had been sent - but when that didn't work they took matters into their own hands in a completely inappropriate manner."

Judge Fuller said he accepted neither of the Denyers had intended to do serious harm to their neighbour.

He sentenced Mr Denyer to 10 months in prison suspended for a year and 130 hours of unpaid work and Mrs Denyer to a six month suspended sentence with 100 hours of unpaid work.

He told them: "You are of previous good character, you had gone to Hillbury Park for the tranquility and had no doubt led blameless and hardworking lives up until this particular point.

"This was clearly out of temper and frustration at the intolerable noises coming yet again from your neighbour's garden."