A teenager is "lucky to be alive" having drunk 44 pints of cider before attacking a promising young footballer, a court heard.

Jamie Scott, 19, claims to have consumed the large amount of alcohol in the 24 hours preceding his street attack on a 16 year old boy walking home from school.

Judge Peter Armstrong said: "It is either very weak cider or he is lucky to be alive."

Scott's own barrister described the drinking session as "extraordinary".

Scott carried out the attack alongside friend Jack Bainbridge, 18, in Stockton-on-Tees last September. The pair fled the scene after their victim fought back, breaking his hand when he hit Scott, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Scott, a tyre fitter, received a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with an alcohol treatment requirement and probation supervision. Judge Armstrong also ordered that he pay £250 compensation to his victim and carry out 100 hours of unpaid community service. Bainbridge will receive his sentence at a later date.

Five months earlier Bainbridge, 20 year old Steven Cooper, and a 15-year-old, who was not named to protect his identity, attacked a young man with learning difficulties and stole £170 from him.

The 15 year old claimed he had drunk five litres of cider beforehand.

Jonathan Walker, defending, said: "These are colossal amounts [of alcohol] for young men with immature physiques. One can only imagine the cataclysmic effects it can have."

Walker added: "I saw Your Honour raise his eyebrows when the amount of alcohol was revealed."

The 15 year old received a rehabilitation and supervision order and was ordered to pay £170 compensation. Cooper received a six month jail sentence.

Graham Skeggs, of Alcohol Concern, said: "This demonstrates how the availability of cider and beer at extremely low prices leads some young people to drink so excessively that anti-social behaviour and violence are inevitable."