A TEENAGE boy who was helping his uncle search for a gang of shoplifters was smashed over the head with a bottle during a confrontation.

The 14-year-old needed stitches to the wound, inflicted by Thomas Smethurst and his uncle also suffered facial injuries.

At Bolton Crown Court Smethurst, who was 18 at the time of the attack and is now aged 20, was jailed for two years.

"You used a weapon which broke. Fortunately it did not cause more serious injuries," Judge Graeme Smith told Smethurst, who appeared for sentencing via a video link from Forest Bank Prison.

Jeremy Lasker, prosecuting, told how on April 19 last year, Rauf Shazad, who runs Willows Wines on Willows Lane, Deane, was told by staff about a group of youths who had twice been into the stop and stolen goods. He decided to view the shop's CCTV.

"He recognised the group as being local males who hung about on the park and he took the decision that he should find them," said Mr Lasker.

Accompanied by his nephews, aged 16 and 14, he found a group of youths in the park and tried to talk to them, but was met with racist verbal abuse before they ran off.

Mr Shazad and his nephews were leaving Rumworth Park near Hawthorne Road when they were confronted by another, larger group of around 20 youths.

"The complainants realised they were vastly outnumbered and began to back away," said Mr Lasker.

But the incident became violent when Mr Shazad was hit in the face a number of times, causing bruising and a possible fractured nose and eye socket.

"This complainant was also struck over the head with a bottle, causing a laceration to the top of his head," said Mr Lasker.

"The Crown are unable to say, with any degree of certainty, that this injury was inflicted by the defendant, but if it was not him, it was in the course of a joint attack in which this defendant played a significant role."

Smethurst was identified as being the attacker who smashed the 14-year-old boy to the side of his head with a bottle.

"The bottle smashed on impact causing a 1cm laceration above the left eye."

After speaking to Smethurst's mother, police went to their Hawthorne Road home and found blood stained clothing in the washing machine.

Smethurst initially claimed he had been acting in self defence but then changed his plea, admitting causing grievous bodily harm to the boy and actual bodily harm to the teenager's uncle.

He also pleaded guilty to handling stolen Peugeot, Fiat Bravo and Toyota Corolla cars. He was spotted on petrol station CCTV putting fuel into two of the vehicles without paying and ignition keys were found at his home.

Mark Friend, defending said that, until Easter 2017, Smethurst had been leading a "sensible and socially responsible life" but since them has amassed a number of convictions.

"Subsequent to 2017, on any objective assessment, he rather lost his way," said Mr Friend.

"That was as a consequence of the defendant beginning to spend time with those far more criminally sophisticated than himself.

"He recognises his behaviour was entirely unacceptable."