A thug attacked an 86-year-old man known as the Bird Man after he accused him of attracting vermin by feeding the ducks.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Wednesday, February 14, how Simon Peter Paul, 49, of Bath Road, Buxton, punched Norman Edge twice before kicking him on the ground at Bath Road.
Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “The complainant described how every morning at about 7.30am he leaves his flat and walks to Bath Road where he feeds the birds daily.”
Mrs Allsop added that Mr Edge put two bags of bird seed on a bench and checked if there was a cat under the bench as the defendant appeared.
Paul insulted Mr Edge, according to Mrs Allsop, and the defendant added that he should not be feeding birds because it causes rats to come into his garden.
Mrs Allsop said Mr Edge was shocked and was punched to the face by Paul and the elderly man fell into bushes causing an injury to his shin and he was punched again and kicked when he was on the ground.
The complainant told police he had just wanted to go to the nearby Pavilion Gardens to feed the ducks and he had suffered bruising to his left jaw and upper lip and he had a cut to his shin and bruising to his back.
Mr Edge added that he has been left more wary since the attack and the incident has made his daily routine less enjoyable.
He said: “When it first happened I couldn’t walk away properly. I was only feeding the birds and every time I go to feed the birds I wonder if he will be there again.”
A witness said she saw Paul punch Mr Edge twice and kick him.
Paul told police that Mr Edge is known locally as the Bird Man and he puts seeds out for the birds but he puts down more than they can eat and this attracts rats.
The defendant claimed that this is an issue for him and other businesses and it has cost him money in pest control.
He added that on the morning of the attack he had been hungover and was coming back from his partner’s and he picked the wrong moment to approach Mr Edge and he claimed Mr Edge had lashed out at him.
However, Paul admitted he had over-stepped the mark.
Paul pleaded guilty to assault by beating after the incident on August 28.
Defence solicitor Annis Rowlands said: “The defendant accepts he went beyond what was acceptable in the circumstances at the time.”
Ms Rowlands added that Mr Edge is well-known locally and is quite an eccentric character.
Magistrates sentenced Paul to a 12 month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work after considering a probation report.
Paul was also given a two-year restraining order and must pay £250 compensation, £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.