A THUG attacked an eight-year-old boy as he walked to a shop to buy a can of pop, punching him and robbing him of the £10 note he was carrying.

Drug addict Jake Smedley spotted the schoolboy near Barlow Park, Astley Bridge, as he walked with two others on his way to buy the drink.

Callous Smedley then pounced from behind, punching the terrified boy in the side of his body before running off with the bank note.

The child, left crying and in pain, headed home to tell his mother what had happened.

Smedley was later arrested and appeared before former Bolton judge Timothy Stead, now sitting at Teesside Crown Court, via a video link from Forest Bank prison.

Jailing him for two years, Judge Stead told the 25-year-old: “It is quite apparent this boy has suffered badly, emotionally, as a result of what you did.”

Nicholas Flanagan, prosecuting, told the court how, on April 22 last year, the schoolboy was on his way to a shop.

“He was going to go and buy a drink, I think a can of pop,” said Mr Flanagan.

“He had a £10 note in his hand and also had his phone visible.”

Smedley ran up behind him, punched him in the side and grabbed the note from his hand before running away.

Police were called and several witnesses described what had happened. One of them had recognised Smedley.

In a statement read to the court the victim’s mother told how the attack has had a lasting effect on the child.

“He no longer goes out to play with his friends and will only leave the house when he is accompanied,” said Mr Flanagan.

When questioned by police Smedley admitted he had been at the scene but claimed the boy had dropped the note and he had picked it up and run off with it instead of handing it back.

Smedley, of no fixed address, denied using any violence but, shortly before his trial, pleaded guilty to robbery.

The court heard that he already had previous convictions for assault.

Sara Haque, defending, stressed that the robbery had been opportunistic and, since then, he has committed no further crimes.

“There is real, genuine shame, embarrassment and remorse over his behaviour,” she said.

“He was, at the time, living a very chaotic lifestyle.”