TWO men have been jailed after beating up a school teacher as he was using a cash machine in the town centre.

Lorenzo Pellegrini and Sean McCarron, both of Redshank Lane, Birchwood, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning ABH at Warrington Crown Court on Monday.

Jo Maxwell, prosecuting, described how the two friends carried out the ‘cowardly’, unprovoked attack on John Derbyshire on June 3 this year.

The victim went to use an ATM on Bridge Street at around 3am.

He was standing in a queue of three people and withdrew his cash card to use when he was attacked.

Ms Maxwell said: “Before he could insert it into the machine he felt a blow to the back of his head that made him fall immediately to the floor.”

McCarron, aged 22, had started the assault, with Pellegrini, aged 22, then joining in.

They continued while Mr Derbyshire laying defenceless on the floor, stepping back and taking running kicks into his head and face.

It lasted for around 30 seconds before witnesses intervened, the court heard.

Police arrived at the scene to find the victim extremely upset and his wallet missing. It was later found in McArron’s pocket.

Mr Derbyshire was taken to Warrington Hospital to be treated for significant bruising to his face and body.

When he returned to work weeks later bruising was still visible around his eyes.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Mr Derbyshire said he suffers from recurrent nightmares that he is being attacked.

He is now far less sociable and questions new people that he meets, he added.

Gary Lawrenson, defending both McCarron and Pellegrini, said: “They were both visibly upset and distressed by what they had done.

“Drink is the only answer they can give.”

Mr Lawrenson appealed for any jail sentence to be suspended.

Recorder of Chester Elgan Edwards said: “What sort of message does that send out?

“(They were) drunken yobs attacking somebody that’s minding his own business having a night out in this town.

“He was attacked two to one and kicked while on the floor.”

Mr Edwards jailed the pair for eight months.

Both defendants began crying as they were lead down to the cells.