A man was punched, kicked and left unconscious during a central Carlisle alleyway attack.

The city’s crown court heard a comment by Alan Clarke began a late-night exchange with two other men which ended with him suffering a serious facial injury.

Mr Clarke was out with his wife in Carlisle on the night of January 6 last year.

He was said to have called Alexander James Sisson, 21, and 20-year-old Sam Feddon “grasses” as they spoke legitimately to police in the street.

One of them then delivered an abusive reply.

A second incident occurred soon after.

“There is an argument which evolves into a fight,” said prosecutor Zoe Dawson.

Mr Clarke entered an alley next to The Crescent Bar in the city first.

He was followed by Sisson and “repeatedly punched” before Feddon - initially a peacemaker - “joined the fight”. “Mr Clarke states he felt himself being punched by both,” said Ms Dawson.

“He describes that before he was rendered unconscious he recalls being kicked to the face.”

Bloodied, he was treated in hospital. He suffered a “nasty” black eye which, he stated, had left his young daughter “frightened of him”, and was off work for weeks.

Sisson, of Easton, near Longtown, and Feddon, of Broomfallen Road, Scotby, admitted actual bodily harm, Feddon on the basis of “excessive self-defence”.

Background reports and references were provided for the pair - both working men of previous good character.

Clare Thomas, defending Sisson, said he’d “learned his lesson” and had the matter “hanging over his head” for a long time following an early guilty plea.

“He accepts full responsibility for his behaviour,” she told the court.

The court heard Feddon was a hard-worker who’d obtained a number of certificates, including one for outstanding apprenticeship achievement.

In view of “significant” mitigation and concluding there was “provocation”, Judge James Adkin gave suspended prison sentences of eight months and 10 months, respectively, to Sisson and Feddon.

Each must complete a night-time curfew and pay Mr Clarke £1,000 compensation.

Of the after-effects of the attack on Mr Clarke, Judge Adkin told the pair: “You were responsible, entirely responsible, jointly responsible, for the injuries and that distress.”