A man who left his brother needing four stitches after hitting him over the head with a scabbard has avoided a jail sentence.

Matthew Ballard, of Gloucester Road, Croydon, pleaded guilty to attacking his younger brother with the samurai sword sheath, after an argument between the pair escalated on January 13.

Croydon Magistrates Court heard the fight in the South Norwood family home began with the brothers slapping each other, before Ballard, 24, took a samurai sword from his brother's collection in his bedroom.

Brinkman May prosecuting said: "The victim had a samurai sword in his room and Mr Ballard took the sword out and started poking it towards his brother’s stomach.

"The defendant’s mother took him to the shop to calm things down, returning home half an hour later, but when they got home the fight began again.

"Mr Ballard hit his brother with the scabbard, causing a cut to his head which required hospital treatment and four stitches."

Miss White, defending, told the court there had always been difficulty between the two brothers and described the incident as a fight between two siblings that had got out of hand.

Ballard was charged with one count of common assault, but during sentencing District Judge McLean told him he was lucky to have not been charged with actual bodily harm.

He said: "You have been charged with common assault, but none the less this is a very serious offence that lead to the use of a weapon and caused injuries that required hospital treatment and four stitches.

"I do consider it to cross the custody threshold."

Ballard was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months and was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay his brother £100 compensation and a victim surcharge of £80.