A DOG owner has admitted owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier which escaped before savaging a landscape gardener working on neighbouring properties in Padgate.

Janette Ann Ratcliffe, aged 58, of Northolt Court, left a gate open, allowing the dog - called Reds - to run out.

Halton Magistrates Court heard on Friday how the dangerous dog attacked gardener Ronald John Greenall.

The first he knew of the dog being near him was when it clamped its jaws around his stomach, causing a wound that needed treatment.

Alison Warburton, prosecuting, said: "The gardener was mowing lawns to the rear of the property.

"As he was pushing a lawnmower, he felt a thump to his stomach and excruciating pain.

"He saw there was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier attached to his stomach.

"The dog then ran into 36 Northolt Court.

"A short time later he was approached by a female asking if he was the person who had been bitten."

The incident happened on September 13 last year.

Ratcliffe was arrested and during the police interview said she had been in control of the dog.

The court heard two Staffordshire Bull Terriers had lived at the address for 10 years.

They belong to Ratcliffe's daughter, who is in prison.

Mrs Warburton said the dog ran out of an open gate to Ratcliffe's home.

She told police the dogs are not dangerous and the housing association that owns the property is aware they live there.

The prosecution made an application for an order to ensure the dogs would now be muzzled at all times when in public.

Gary Heaven, defending, said Ratcliffe believed the gate was closed and that the gardener had been using a public alleyway next to houses to get to the next garden.

He said: "At the time of the incident she was in the process of allowing a joiner into her property to do some work.

"She was holding her grandson.

"The dog has heard the noise of the mower being pushed through the alleyway and the dog has run out.

"It was very much a one-off incident."

The hearing was adjourned for sentencing until April 14.