A VISITOR to Skipton whose boat was moored on the canal is to be paid £150 in compensation after he was injured in an unprovoked attack.

George Wild, 24, had run up behind the man who had been visiting Skipton with his wife and punched him on the side of the head, causing him to fall to the ground.

The man, whose boat was moored at Belmont Wharfe on July 16 last year, had been using the boating facilities at around 8.15pm as he needed to empty the waste, Skipton magistrates heard.

Prosecutor Nadine Clough said the victim had walked from his mooring and noted a group of young people near the bus station, one of whom was Wild.

She said the man heard Wild shout something to him along the lines of 'don't ignore me'.

Miss Clough said the defendant had submitted afterwards that he believed the man to be someone who had 'smirked' at his sister earlier. This was later found to be incorrect and a case of mistaken identity.

"The victim heard someone running behind him and he received a blow to the right hand side of his face. He fell to the ground. It was totally unexpected," said Miss Clough.

The court heard the victim had suffered a cut above his eye, bruising and damage to his thumb. The victim, 68, said he did not feel safe around the canal any more and would not visit Skipton again.

Defence solicitor Keith Blackwell, acting for Wild, said it was a 'sad and serious assault'. He said Wild, who now lived at the Kings Head Hotel, in Keighley, was at the time living in a tent in Skipton and had problems with his mental health, suffering from ADHD. Alcohol was also involved.

"One of the group encouraged him to challenge this man and sadly that is what he did. Since the incident he now resides at the Kings Head and has been turning his life around," said Mr Blackwell.

The court heard police officers were close by when the altercation happened and were able to arrest Wild who pleaded guilty to the offence in December.

Wild, a former tree surgeon, was given a 12 week curfew between 7pm and 7am and a 12 months community order to include 25 rehabilitation activity days. He must also pay a surcharge of £95 and compensation to the victim of £150. There was no order for court costs.