A drunken soldier has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 compensation for knocking out a man’s front tooth in a night club attack.

Joseph Garner had been laughing and joking with victim Stanley Wong just minutes before he launched the unprovoked attack in Fever in Barnstaple and punched him in the face.

A judge told him that it was going to prove to be a 'very expensive night out' after ordering him to pick up Mr Wong's dental bill and pay him £500 on top to recompense him for the pain and suffering he experienced.

Garner, aged 23, was serving with Commando Logistic Regiment at Chivenor at the time of the attack in July last year but has since left the services and is working at the Port of Liverpool docks.

The Lympstone-trained Marine told police he had no recollection of the incident because he was drunk.

Garner, of Smith Place, Liverpool, admitted causing actual bodily harm and was ordered to pay a total of £3,353.60 compensation by Judge Robert Linford at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him:"This is going to turn out to be a very expensive night out for you. This man was minding his own business when you struck him a blow which knocked a tooth out.

"You did it for no reason anyone, least of all yourself, can identify. The effect was to hurt him and cause him to have nearly £3,000 work done on to put right the damage.

"You are going to pay for all of that and pay some more for his pain and suffering. The mitigation today is that you have no previous convictions and a good hard working background in the armed forces.

"It is important for you to realise this conviction means you are no longer able to say you are of good character, so if this is repeated, the sentence will be very different."

Mr Robert Yates, prosecuting, said the assault happened at around 1am on July 15 last year inside the Fever nightclub, where Garner and Mr Wong had been chatting and joking.

He walked away and returned a couple of minutes later and carried out the unprovoked and unexplained attack.

Mr Rupert Taylor, defending, said Garner spent six years in the army, starting in the Royal Logistics Corps and then training to be a commando and joining the Commando Logistic Regiment. He is now working for the Port of Liverpool.

Mr Taylor said:"He was in drink and there was some horse play in the night club which he took too far and punched a man a single blow in the face, which knocked a tooth out. He is very apologetic and able to pay compensation."