A WANNABE singer-songwriter scrapped with the man he claimed owed him a debt.

Swindon Crown Court heard Sheldon Thomas, 38, approached another's van when he pulled up on Havisham Road, Park South, on June 14, 2018.

Prosecutor Colin Meeke said Thomas was agitated and appeared to be under the influence of drink or drugs.

He accused the man of failing to pay back a debt. When the supposed debtor said he didn’t owe Thomas anything he grabbed the driver’s van keys and threw them away.

“He was agitated and angry, grabbing at a phone, making threatening remarks,” Mr Meeke said.

“He struck his victim to the side of the head and left him disorientated and, he was to say, with a headache for quite a while afterwards.”

Thomas went around to the other side of the van and grabbed at a handbag belonging to the man’s then partner, who was in the van.

The whole incident lasted around a minute. The van keys were not recovered.

Mr Meeke said: “The victim has suffered some continuing discomfort from the blow.

“It was clearly quite an alarming matter and came out of the blue on a bright, sunny evening.”

Thomas, formerly of Rosebery Street, pleaded guilty to affray.

He had been due to stand trial for robbery but prosecutors withdrew the charge on the day of trial.

Tony Bignall, defending, said his client believed he was owed money by his victim, who had promised to make good the debt.

“He was angry, he accepts he was confrontational, the two of them were in the van and it must have been frightening,” he said.

Thomas is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for selling heroin and crack cocaine to undercover police officers last year.

He was keen to put the 2018 affray behind him and had been keeping himself busy while inside.

Mr Bignall said his client hoped to make a living as a singer-songwriter when he was released.

It was possible he would be moved to another prison where the music recording facilities were better.

He said: “He’ll be able to hone his skills while he’s a serving prisoner and keep himself busy.”

The lawyer said Thomas was getting too old to be in-and-out of prison: “He is hoping that once he’s eventually released that will be the end of it.”

Jailing Thomas for three months for the affray, Judge Paul Cook said of the attack: “It was alarming and frightening for them and it came entirely out of the blue.”

The sentence is to be served concurrently.

Thomas has what was described in court as a “chequered” criminal past.

In 2008, he was jailed for 10 years for robbery after turning the claw end of a hammer on his victim as he walked home from the pub.