THE boss of a scaffolding business has been found guilty of assaulting a Skipton property owner and his builder.

Matthew Hilton, 38, pushed Kashif Mahmood and kicked Imran Khan in Broughton Road, Skipton, in September last year in a dispute over a £600 scaffolding bill, heard Skipton magistrates.

Hilton's son, Callum, 18, was found guilty of assaulting Mr Mahmood with a single punch, while his employee Gareth Norwood, 26, was found guilty of assaulting Mr Khan, also with a single punch.

On Tuesday, on the second, concluding day of the part heard trial, which began two weeks ago, the court heard that the three scaffolders had partially delivered and erected second phase scaffolding at the house in Broughton Road early on September 22 last year. They had driven off to another site in Skipton to collect some more scaffolding before returning to complete the job. It was when they returned, that an argument developed between Matthew Hilton, Mr Mahmood and Mr Khan over what Hilton claimed was £600 owed to him.

Mathew Hilton pushed Mr Mahmood and in a tussle with Mr Khan, knocked him to the floor where he kicked him. Callum Hilton, who was just 17 at the time, admitted punching Mr Mahmood by mistake, claiming he had meant to punch Mr Khan, who he said was coming at his father, who had been jumped on by Mr Mahmood, with a clenched fist.

Norwood admitted assaulting Mr Khan, but said he had punched him to stop him from taking a five foot scaffolding pole from the back of their wagon and that he was acting in defence of himself, and the others.

Immediately after the incident, the three men, who all claimed Mr Khan had thrown bricks at their vehicle, drove off and had stopped in Earby to get a drink when they were caught up by police.

Prosecuting, Alison Whiteley, said it had been a difficult case where both the defendants and the complainants had not known each other very well.

Both Mr Mahmood and Mr Khan had suffered injuries from the assaults, while there had been none against Matthew Hilton, despite all three men claiming Mr Mahmood had jumped on his back.

Defending all three men, John Rusius said there had never been any dispute about two single punches, but there had been no kicks.

Matthew Hilton, of Sycamore Avenue, Burnley, who had denied both assaults, was fined a total of £880 and ordered to pay compensation of £125 to each of the two men. He will also have to pay costs of £200 and a surcharge of £44.

Callum Hilton, also of Sycamore Avenue, found guilty of assaulting Mr Mahmood, but not Mr Khan, was fined £60 and ordered to pay £125 compensation to Mr Mahmood, costs of £100 and £30 surcharge.

Norwood, of Lower House Lane, Burnley, found guilty of assaulting Mr Khan, but not Mr Mahmood, was fined £150 and ordered to pay £125 compensation to Mr Khan, costs of £200 and surcharge of £30.