A TRADESMAN threw punches at a customer who failed to pay for a new kitchen he had fitted after seeing him at the gym.

John Baxter, 39, had entered the Windscale Club gym in Seascale on September 14 last year where the victim was using the gym equipment, Workington Magistrates Court heard.

Jacqui Partington, prosecuting, said Baxter had walked straight towards the man and threw a punch towards him, striking him to the side of the head.

The victim raised his arm to protect himself and then threw a defensive punch but lost his balance and fell onto a moving treadmill.

Baxter then threw another punch, striking him to the head, while the victim was on the floor.

A probation officer told the court that the assault had occurred because of some work Baxter had carried out. He hadn’t been paid for a £5,000 kitchen.

When the defendant went to the gym, he saw the man and confronted him about the outstanding debt.

Baxter has since put his house up for sale and moved back to Yorkshire. He ‘regretted’ his actions, which were done ‘out of frustration’, the court was told.

He has since lost his business and is now working as a plumber for a caravan site.

John Cooper, defending, said: “He had moved to Seascale to start his own business.

“He was employed to do the work. He bought all the materials himself for the £5,000 job and hadn’t been paid.

“He has gone to the gym. There is no suggestion he would be there. There is a conversation about the money.

“He hasn’t gone straight up to him and attacked him. There is an argument about money.

“It’s a guilty plea at the first opportunity. He’s a gentleman with no previous convictions.”

Baxter, of  Cambridge Street, Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to common assault.

Magistrates fined the defendant £576 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £230 victim surcharge.