An air rifle-wielding Whitby yob who originally claimed he was "shooting rats" when he hit a motorcyclist through the visor of his helmet has avoided jail.
Joe Edgar, 49, shot an air pellet at Danny Brady out of his flat window after being annoyed with the noises the motor vehicles were making.
But when the victim challenged Edgar, who he spotted from the roadside, he told Danny: "I don't own a gun - they're illegal in the UK".
Edgar then told cops during an interview that he had been shooting at rats and the victim had been "caught in the crossfire".
But he later admitted to deliberately aiming the rifle at the motorist and pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm - on the day a trial was supposed to start.
Mr Brady was left with swelling and two small cuts to his face after the tiny pellet pierced his right cheek in the incident in September last year.
Prosecutor Graham O'Sullivan told York Crown Court today: "The victim Danny Brady had pulled over on his motorcycle to try and find a tobacco pouch which he had dropped somewhere on Auckland Way.
"While he was stood next to the bike he felt immediate pain in his right cheek.
"He took off his helmet and put his hand to his face to find he was bleeding.
"When he looked at his helmet he found that his visor had a hole in it.
"The victim then shouted: 'Who the f*** has shot me?' and saw the defendant [Edgar] in the flat stairwell from the roadside.
"The defendant leaned out the window and shouted 'move your f**king bike off that grass'.
"The victim then asked Edgar if he had shot him and the defendant replied: 'I don't own a gun - they're illegal in the UK'."
The court heard the victim had visited a nearby hospital to see medical staff about his injury - which turned out to be a minor one and healed.
Mr O'Sullivan said: "The defendant's defence for this was that a lot of motorcyclists and riders were driving up along the road near the defendant's flat."
Edgar was initially arrested and charged with attempting to cause serious harm and using a firearm with intent to endanger life.
But following his admissions to the prosecution before a previous trial date, the jury did not have chance to even be sworn in before Edgar pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Defending Edgar, Melissa Harris said: "The defendant is a very troubled man and through a rehabilitation order it will give him an opportunity to help himself."
One of Edgar's relatives called Carol stood up clutching a six-inch gold cross with her arms raised as she waited for Edgar to be sentenced.
Recorder judge Kevin Miller told the defendant to also get rid of a crossbow which was also found at his address by cops.
Edgar received a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He was also made subject of a 15 day rehabilitating activity to address his alcohol problems.
The weapon and ammunition was also ordered to be destroyed.