A thug who knocked a man unconscious after following him in a taxi from Chippenham to Melksham has been jailed for 14 months.

Daniel Payne, 25, was on bail for hitting another reveller with a hammer in a drunken attack weeks earlier when he launched the late night assault.

Claire Marlow, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court yesterday that both incidents started outside Bar 11 on The Bridge in Chippenham.

She said the first incident took place on Friday, October 18, last year when victim Jack Hopkins and a pal left the town centre bar at about 2am.

The men were walking up the High Street to get a take away when the defendant followed them.

"There was a discussion outside Bar 11 during which Mr Hopkins says that his name is Payner, adding 'Have you not heard of me?'," she said.

"He said 'I'll smash your face in', 'I am going to mash your face with a hammer'."

As they were walking up the road she said CCTV showed the victim pick up a traffic cone while Payne picked up something from the pavement.

He then went up to Mr Hopkins and hit him to the head and arm with the hammer leaving him with a lump to his head and bruise on his arm.

Miss Marlow said he was arrested soon after and on bail when he launched the second attack on Saturday November 22.

Outside the same bar at about 3am he got talking to Rory Needham, who was staying in the area for work, about Chippenham being a small place.

She said the discussion moved on to knives and guns during which Payne seemed to get more agitated.

Mr Needham got a taxi to take him to his bed and breakfast in Melksham but, unknown to him, Payne and a friend got into another and followed.

On the way the victim had to stop at a petrol station cash machine to get the fare and cabbie, realising they were being followed, thought they had lost the other car.

But as Mr Needham approached the guest house on Beanacre Road he saw the man he had been talking to earlier, outside the club.

He was then punched, knocking him to the ground, and when he came round he knocked on a colleague's window for help.

Meanwhile the attacker and his friend got their taxi to take them home and warned the driver not to tell anyone about what he had seen.

Payne, of Southmead, Chippenham, pleaded guilty to two counts of actual bodily harm and one of having an offensive weapon.

Giles Nelson, defending, said his client had no history of violence and his life was in 'turmoil' at the time of the offending.

He said he had separated from his partner and was drinking far too much leading to him over reacting to perceived slights.

Jailing him, Judge Douglas Field said: "Hitting someone with a hammer in a drunken state, as you were, with a hammer could have cause really serious injuries.

"You were arrested very quickly, but that didn't stop you offending again. Again late at night, worse for drink, and you set out and followed your victim who was in a taxi.

"This is serious offending. It is premeditated."