A THUG who was part of a gang who set upon a man in a bid to steal his bag has avoided an immediate prison sentence.

James Redman was one of three men who launched an unprovoked attack on the victim in the Vineyard Street area of Colchester town centre after he had left a nightclub.

The group approached the victim and his two friends and asked them whether they had any alcohol or drugs and then tried to grab his bag from him.

The victim suffered bruising and cuts to his face as a result of the attack but managed to keep hold of the bag.

But in the immediate aftermath he told police he felt worried and nervous about going out and said the attack had him feel paranoid.

Redman, 20, admitted to attempted robbery at Ipswich Crown Court after Judge Martyn Levett watched CCTV of the attack and confirmed he would be unlikely to go to jail.

He was eventually handed a 21 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

The incident occurred almost two years ago in October 2016 but Redman had been unable to attend hearings scheduled at Colchester Magistrates’ Court because he was serving a prison sentence in New Zealand.

He returned to the UK last month and the court heard he had been engaging with the proceedings since he came back.

Passing sentence Judge Levett said he did not know what was in the bag but said the attack was completely unjustified.

He said: “I know this area reasonably well and some of its dark corners do create places where people can lay attacks on innocent people walking about.

“You three were acting together and the complainant was punched and pulled about in an attempt to get a bag which was clearly of some value.”

Redman, of The Croft, Earls Colne, will also have to do 200 hours of unpaid work and was given a three-year restraining order stopping him from contacting the victim.

Another man has previously been given the same sentence for his part in attack while the third has never been found.