AN angry farmer attacked a teenager with a plank of wood after falsely accusing him of stealing two quad bikes from his land.
Leonard Chappell, 58, took his victim Lee Boyes by surprise when he emerged from the side of his farmhouse into his yard and clubbed him round the head without any warning.
Farm labourer Mr Boyes, 19, had gone to Chappell's farm near South Molton to demand an apology after learning that he was being blamed for the theft of the quad bikes.
He did not even get a chance to protest his innocence because Chappell armed himself with the piece of timber from the back of his car and hit him across the ear with it, Exeter Crown Court was told.
The victim only escaped more serious injury when his 17-year-old girlfriend rushed to his aid.
Chappell, of Burcombe Moor, Rose Ash, South Molton, admitted wounding and was fined £1,000 with £600 compensation and £548 costs by Judge Francis Gilbert QC.
The judge told him: "This was disgraceful and stupid conduct." Mary McCarthy, for the defence, said times were hard for farmers and her client was in debt.