A thug has been jailed after attacking two acquaintances in a pub after a row over a garden shed.

Darren Pilkington, 39, used a barstool during the unprovoked attack at the Ox and Plough pub, in Rochdale, on the evening of September 2 this year.

After beating and kicking his two victims, he eventually left the pub only to return with a brick - though he was not let back inside the premises.

He later told police: “Them two started on me so I just went bang bang” while gesturing with his hands in a punching motion, a court has heard.

Pilkington, of Milnrow Road, Rochdale, has now been jailed for eight months after admitting two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Pilkington had been out with a friend when he went into the Ox and Plough alone for one last drink at around 9pm.

There he saw a man he had not seen for around five years who was with another friend and both their partners.

Pilkington started chatting to the men and one reminded the defendant that he owed him money for a shed.

At that point Pilkington ‘exploded in anger’ and started attacking both men with one victim describing him as being “like a wild animal”.

One man suffered cuts and bruising to his face, while the other now requires surgery for a serious eye injury in the wake of the attack.

The court heard how a barmaid at the pub had seen Pilkington 'continually punching’ one of the victims and saw him pick up a bar stool and hit one with it.

When asked about the money she recalls hearing the defendant saying: “what the f***’s it got to do with you? I will f***ing knock you out.”

Laura Broome, defending, asked for a community order for Pilkington.

She told the court that the defendant’s mother, who is in ill health, relies on him as a carer and would be significantly impacted if he went to jail.

Ms Broome said Pilkington is ‘overcome with guilt and shame’ about the incident and acted ‘completely out of character’.

She said one of the victims had asked Pilkington, a labourer, to do some work for him seven years ago and paid him £47 in materials. The defendant ended up not doing the work and the victim had been pressing him to pay him back.

She said Pilkington had felt ‘intimidated’ but has since described both victims as ‘nice people’ and is remorseful.

“He is appalled that he overreacted about something so trivial,” she said.

Mrs Recorder Vigers QC said she believes Pilkington is ‘genuinely remorseful’ but said the offences were so serious that custody was the only option.

Describing the attack on the two victims, the Recorder said Pilkington’s return to the pub with ‘a large brick’ must have caused fear to others.

“Whatever it was you were trying to do it can only have added to the fear of those already inside the pub,” she said.