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A DRUNK man stole a phone and a hat from a man in the street in a moment of “idiocy”, a judge heard.

Jack Tovey, 21, took the mobile from a man who he believed had stolen it from his friend.

Tovey, of County Road, Swindon, had drunk eight pints of beer and was in a friend’s black Lexus when the incident happened on October 4 last year.

Prosecutor John Law told Oxford Crown Court yesterday there had been some altercation between Tovey and his friends, and a group of men walking down Mill Street, Wantage.

He said: “Tovey asked them to show what was in their pockets and took a Nokia C3 phone and then a hat from the floor.’’ He took a phone from George Kildonan and a hat from David Johnstone.

He added: “When shown CCTV which partially showed the incident he said he was out of order and could offer no explanation other than he was drunk.’’ In mitigation, Graham Bennett said: “His friend thought he had lost his phone during the altercation and they returned to the house where the complainants were seen to go into.’’ He added that Tovey had written a letter of apology to the victims.

Judge Mary-Jane Mowat said: “This was an incident which was obviously born of drink and some sort of idiocy.

“You thought these men had taken the phone and were trying to get it back in completely the wrong way. You stole a man’s phone and hat."

She gave him a community order with 12 months supervision and 150 hours of unpaid work. He is also required to take part in the Thinking Skills programme and pay a £60 victim surcharge.