A MAN who punched a drinker he believed was becoming abusive towards bar staff has been sentenced to a conditional discharge by Bolton magistrates.

The court heard how Paul Butler and his daughter had been drinking in Bolton bars on December 5 and, at around 7pm, ended up in Barristers on Bradshawgate.

But Shazia Aslam, prosecuting, said Mr Butler objected when bar staff, believing he had already had too much, refused to serve him.

"He remembers saying something like 'I've been drinking 30 years — I don't need to be told I'm drunk by a young lad," said Mrs Aslam.

Christopher Bateman, who was also in the bar, took exception to his behaviour and confronted Mr Butler.

"The defendant then lunged and punched the complainant once in his face and knocked him off his feet," said Mrs Aslam.

Mr Butler, who was left with a black eye, was removed from the bar by bouncers and called the police.

Bateman, aged 38, of Dunsop Drive, Bolton, was arrested and pleaded guilty to assault.

Martin Pizzey, defending, said Bateman, who works as an engineer, had been minding his own business in the pub when he came to the aid of the young staff members.

"He stepped up to the plate and took responsibility for sorting the matter out," said Mr Pizzey, who added that, unfortunately Bateman had been mixing alcohol with the ant-depressants he had been taking.

"On reflection he accepts that he shouldn't have been drinking at all.

"He accepts he overstepped the mark and he regrets that."

Bateman was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 18 months and ordered to pay £106 in costs and charges.