http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Clubber used pepper spray on bouncer
A Polish clubber squirted pepper spray in a bouncer's face after he was refused entry to a Cheltenham nightclub, a court heard.
Tomasz Kunikowski, 24, sprayed the noxious substance at Nathan Lane outside The Place in Albion Street, magistrates heard.
Kunikowski, of Brookbank Close, St Peter's, said the spray was legal in Poland but pleaded guilty to assault and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon.
Magistrates sentenced Kunikowski to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to pay £350 in compensation to his victim.
Crown Prosecutor Sharon Jomaa said the incident happened at about 11.40pm on December 20 last year.
She said: "Police were called to The Place following reports of a fight outside. The defendant had been refused entry and an argument followed.
"The defendant sprayed the pepper at Mr Lane, causing him pain and reddening to his face."
Ms Jomaa said police seized the canister at the scene of the incident and found a second during a search of his home address the following day.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Lane said: "After being sprayed it began hurting. It was very painful with an intense burning sensation.
"I felt disorientated as a result of the spray and I was in so much pain I put cold water on my face despite being advised not to."
Mr Lane was checked by paramedics at the scene and later attended hospital to assess the injury.
The bouncer said the pain did not ease off until 2.30am – nearly three hours after the incident.
Ms Jomaa said Kunikowski had made full admissions in police interview following his arrest.
Speaking via an interpreter, Kunikowski said he mistakenly believed Mr Lane was attacking his friend and had gone to his defence.
He said the pepper spray was legal in Poland and he did not realise it was illegal to own or carry in the UK.
Pepper spray is not considered an offensive weapon in Poland and can be carried by over 18s.
Evelina Piekarek, 26, who works at Polish deli Malinka Delikatesy, in Cheltenham's High Street said: "It is common in Poland. Not everyone does but many young men and women have them for safety.
"Men carry them instead of knives.
"I think it's better than carrying a knife but they shouldn't have them.
"Many attackers use them as weapons.
"In Poland they kept pepper spray behind the bar I worked in for protection on late shifts."
Robert Szaniawski, press spokesman for the Polish Embassy said: "Nobody can avoid the law – it doesn't matter where they come from, everybody is equal.
"If he broke the law he should be expected to be punished for it. This is a unique incident and I certainly wouldn't say that Polish youngsters are in the habit of carrying pepper spray."