The 44-year-old downed a bottle of Baileys and 14 cans of beer for ‘courage’ before asking for a job at Coombe Fisheries.

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A man who hit the manager of Coombe Fisheries while drunkenly trying to get a job at the Pottington Industrial Estate business has been given a curfew and ordered to pay compensation.

David John Haulston, 44, of Bellaire Drive in Barnstaple pleaded guilty to assault by beating at North Devon Magistrates’ Court on Friday after drinking 14 cans of beer and a bottle of Baileys. He said he had drank the alcohol to give him ‘courage’ before going to the factory.

The court heard that Haulston was not supposed to be there and had managed to get in through the fence at around 8.30pm on December 2. Witnesses said he was unsteady on his feet but had initially been friendly, asking to see the manager before turning aggressive and threatening to ‘smack’ the witness.

Workers then contacted the manager, who called the police on his way into the factory.

Haulston was said to be very aggressive towards the victim, hitting him with both hands while holding a glass bottle, cutting his left eye. A number of witnesses went to get help.

Police arrived soon afterwards and arrested Haulston at just after 9 o’clock.

A probation report found that Haulston had a history of alcohol abuse and had several previous convictions related to drinking. Laurence Overend, for the defence, said Haulston had been sober for eight months before ‘lapsing in rather spectacular style’.

The sitting magistrate ruled that the use of the bottle was ‘incidental’, and ordered that Haulston be subject to a curfew for 12 weeks and that he paid the victim £50 compensation. Haulston had to pay a further £95 in charges and costs.

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