A SHOP fitter hurled abuse at a traffic warden before pouring a tin of paint over him.

Patrick Walker was working in Molly Malone’s pub in West Street, Brighton, when he spotted the warden on the morning of October 2.

The 45-year-old called council worker Michael Sheriff a “f****** w*****” before dousing him in white paint, Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

Walker, of Crag Road in Shipley, Bradford, admitted the offence of common assault and also pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage to equipment owned by NSL, the council-contracted company which employs Mr Sheriff.

The cost of the damaged equipment came to £1,200.

Speaking in court, Walker said: “I’m sorry it happened.

“It was a spur of the moment thing.

“I am quite prepared to compensate for anything and I’m sure this won’t be happening again.”

The attack caused Mr Sheriff to stumble and fall back into the road, which District Judge Tessa Szagun noted as an aggravating factor when sentencing Walker, who lives with his mother.

Mr Sheriff had requested a restraining order be be issued for Walker, but this was rejected due to the fact Walker lives in Bradford.

The court heard Walker was in Brighton for work.

The Argus reported on the incident when it happened.

An eyewitness said: “I was walking to the seafront and didn’t even notice the warden at first.

“Then I noticed something going on and had to look twice to believe it.

“He was dripping from head to toe with white paint, completely covered in it.

“I don’t know what happened, whether it was an accident, but he did not look impressed.

“Some builders were laughing their heads off about it - they thought it was seriously funny.”

Mr Sheriff had to get changed in West Street after the paint was thrown over him before his colleagues brought him a change of uniform.

His work radio was also covered in paint.

Walker was ordered to pay a fine of £1,400, along with £85 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

He was also handed a 12-month community order and was told to carry out 18 hours of unpaid work.

Sentencing, Judge Szagun said: “I am giving credit for the guilty plea, but still consider this offence serious enough to deal with a community order.

“An aggravating feature is that the warden fell back into the road.”

The judge said she could not ignore the fact the attack was on a traffic warden, and that Walker was “behaving aggressively”.

She added that it was not necessary to enforce a restraining order because of how far away Walker lives from Brighton.