A furious farmer has been convicted of a road rage assault after a a bust-up with a cyclist ended with him throwing both the cyclist and his bike on to a grass verge.

Kallum Hunt, 23, admitted damaging his victim’s bike, but denied common assault. He was found guilty after a trial at Carlisle’s magistrates’ court.

In court, cyclist Brett Preston described how he had been returning home after a 30-mile ride on July 18 last year, having ridden from Carlisle to Penrith. On the road between Hutton-in-the-Forrest and Carlisle he heard a tractor approaching from behind.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Rachel Parker said: “The tractor started to overtake Mr Preston and at this point he believed the tractor was too close to him. Mr Preston was terrified and shouted at the driver, the defendant.”

Mr Preston, who said he is an avid cyclist, described what happened next, saying: “The tractor was taking a while to get past and it became visible in my peripheral vision.

“It seemed close. I began to panic a bit; I could hear the tread of the tyres on the road and there was some sort of machinery on the back. It took what seemed like an age to get past... I saw those spikes [on the back of the tractor] which were rattling.”

Once past him, the the tractor did an emergency stop, forcing him to stop, very near to the tractor’s spikes. Hunt then got out of the tractor and ran around it to confront him, accusing him of speeding up as he had tried to drive past him, said Mr Preston.

Hunt thumped Mr Preston’s chest, forcing him back.

“He then threw my bike into the side of the hedge into the side of the hedge, or the verge; and then put his hands on my lapels and threw me. I ended up on my back, basically.”

As Hunt drove away, Mr Preston photographed his departing tractor. “He completely lost his temper,” said Mr Preston, saying he now felt he had to avoid that area.

Hunt admitted being annoyed, and throwing the bike, but denied using physical violence.

“I was angry,” he said. “They [cyclists] are always in the way; always annoying like that. They’re always there.” He said Mr Preston shouted at him.

District Judge Gerald Chalk said he had no reason to disbelieve Mr Preston and Hunt, from Ivegill, Carlisle, who admitted criminal damage to the bike, had accepted being annoyed. “I’m satisfied you did strike Mr Preston to the chest,” the judge told Hunt.

“It’s what’s called road rage.”

The judge imposed a 12 month community order, with a requirement to do 80 hours unpaid work in the community and to pay £200 compensation to the victim, and £800 court costs.