A THUG who left a complete stranger needing stitches after a vicious assault in Prestwick over a “spilled drink” has been spared jail.

Rehan Pagcaliwangan Imtiaz’s victim was rushed to hospital after the incident in the town’s Main Street.

The 22-year-old admitted carrying out the assault outside The Vic and the Vine on December 4 last year after the pair bumped into each other in The Buf.

The procurator fiscal depute told Ayr Sheriff Court: “The locus was a licensed premises in Prestwick with several members of the public present outside.

“The witness was in The Buf, another licensed premises. He was making his way to go home.

“He had never met the accused, before but their paths crossed. The accused approached him, punching him twice on the head.

“The witness and accused exchanged words, and both ended up on the ground. Police officers intervened and separated them.

“The witness was transported to A&E, receiving seven stitches. He tells me two weeks later they were removed.

“The accused was arrested at 12.41am and taken to Kilmarnock police office. He was later released on an undertaking to appear in court.”

Sentence on Imtiaz was deferred for criminal justice social work reports to be prepared.

When he returned to Ayr Sheriff Court last week, his defence solicitor Kevin Corr explained: “My understanding is both parties were in the original venue.

“Alcohol was spilled and they were asked to leave.”

Sheriff Anthony McGlennan asked why Imtiaz, according to the social work report, “has an unwillingness to carry out unpaid work”, adding: “That might mean custody is my only option.”

Mr Corr replied: “The difficulty is his work patterns.”

Turning to the incident itself, Mr Corr said: “The level of violence cannot be excused but your Lordship accepts there is a degree of mitigation.”

Sheriff McGlennan said: “I don’t think I do. Spilling drink does not give a licence for blunt force trauma. That behaviour is beyond the pale.”

Mr Corr continued: “He pleaded guilty and fully accepts he was wrong. He wasn’t simply out looking for trouble.”

Sheriff McGlennan told Imtiaz: “You should have some considerable gratitude to Mr Corr for taking the edge off a deeply unsatisfactory social work report.

“You seem keen to dictate to the court what to do.

“The west of Scotland is plagued with violence due to alcohol and perceived personal slights.

“You are only by a narrow margin avoiding custody today.”

Imtiaz, of Dunure Place, Kilmarnock, was placed on a community payback order with one year of supervision.

Despite the “unwillingness” identified by social workers, he was also ordered to carry out 230 hours of unpaid work.

In addition, he will also be required to undergo alcohol counselling and pay compensation of £500.