A MAN who kicked off inside a Crewkerne supermarket and made a comment about “gingers” in front of a man with red hair then lunged towards him and tensed up as if he wanted to fight.

Afraid he was about to be assaulted, the victim headbutted Lee James Edney who then retaliated and punched him in the face causing a melee inside the Waitrose store.

The defendant then threatened to kill the victim and once he was outside the shop he punched a bollard and shop sign, kicked a traffic cone and then punched the wing mirror of a passing car leaving the female driver in a state of distress.

Edney, 25, of Market Street, Crewkerne, pleaded guilty to using towards James Braidley, David Braidley and Florence Braidley-Galpin threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause them to believe that immediate unlawful violence would be used against them on January 4.

He also admitted using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause somebody harassment, alarm or distress on the same date when he appeared before Somerset Magistrates at Yeovil.

He also admitted being in breach of a conditional discharge previously imposed by the court for an offence of shoplifting.

Prosecutor Andrew Escott-Watson said that on the day in question James Braidley was with his father David in Crewkerne when they heard voices shouting outside and someone saying: “What the f*** are you looking at?”

He saw a male and female outside and the male was shouting at people but he then went into Waitrose with his father to see his sister who was working there.

“He then saw the same male, Edney, walking towards him in the aisle and he appeared to be rowdy and was swearing and then made a comment about someone being a ginger,” he said.

“James, having red hair, believed it was aimed at him and the defendant then walked towards him and was lunging forward trying to intimidate him and tensing as if he wanted to fight.

“Edney clenched his fists and James was afraid he was about to be assaulted so headbutted the defendant to the nose who then punched him in the face.”

His father and sister became involved and separated the pair and David Braidley was pushed in the process.

Edney shouted “I’m going to f***ing kill him, look at what he’s done to my face?”

He refused to leave the store, but once he did go outside he bounced about in an aggressive manner, punching a bollard and cardboard sign.

“Dashcam footage of a witness driving a car nearby showed Edney kicking a traffic cone into the road in front of her car,” said Mr Escott-Watson.

“He then went to the driver’s widow and punched the wing mirror leaving the woman alarmed and distressed by his actions.”

Defending solicitor Ray Peters said the incidents were very unpleasant but committed at a time when Edney had recently moved to Crewkerne and was feeling very low and isolated.

“His seven year relationship had also broken down and he also lost his employment working on the refuse carts because he had no transport to get there,” he said.

“He was in a low mood and the first thing he said to the police was that he was acting stupidly and was a bit drunk but he also apologised during interview.

“He had limited recall of the incidents but pleaded guilty straight away.”

Chair of the magistrates Rosie Wilson told Edney he may have been acting stupidly, but to everyone else it had been quite frightening.

“Seeing a drunk bloke being quite aggressive is threatening and not very nice and you have to get a hold of your drinking,” she said.

They sentenced the defendant to a 12 month community order with 130 hours paid work and a 20 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

The conditional discharge was allowed to continue but they ordered him to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.