'BRAVE and courageous' neighbours who ran to help a man who was being assaulted in his bed at night and held the attackers until police arrived have been praised by a judge - as he jailed those responsible.

A court heard neighbours jumped in to help after two men burst into a block of flats on Weymouth Esplanade in the middle of the night and started attacking a vulnerable man as he lay in bed.

The two men responsible - Lewis Lovell and Robert Reynolds - have now been jailed for the shocking attack at the property just after midnight on November 30 last year.

READ MORE: Men to be sentenced for midnight assault on The Esplanade

Lovell aged 24, of St Martin's Road on Portland, and Reynolds, aged 25, of Castle Way, Southampton, were sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court after pleading guilty to assault occasioning causing actual bodily harm.

Prosecuting, Jonathan Underhill, told the court how the pair forced entry into a communal building by kicking open the door, then entered the victim's room and attacked him while he was in bed asleep.

A fishing pole was also grabbed on entering the property by Lovell and used to threaten the victim.

Both of them hit the man, punching him in the head and causing injuries, the court heard.

Mr Underhill said neighbours heard the men enter the building and went to confront them, preventing them both from leaving before police arrived to arrest them both.

Lovell was serving a suspended sentence at the time of the attack.

Mitigating for Lovell, Nicholas Robinson said: "This offence is serious and he expresses his remorse to the victim."

Mr Robinson said Lovell had grown up in an abusive household and had turned to drink as a way of coping. He said Lovell suffers with depression and anxiety.

Mitigating for Reynolds, Richard Tutt, said: "He is remorseful. He appreciates the effect this would have had on the victim.

"His background is particularly painful. He was found on the street homeless when he was six by child services and placed in foster care. Since he was 16 he has been living in hostels and sofa surfing."

Judge Robert Pawson said the pair had forced entry to a property, committed joint assault using their fists and smashed the victim's mobile phone against the wall.

He said the neighbours who had stopped both of them from leaving were 'extremely brave and courageous'.

He recognised that both men had poor childhoods which would have been difficult for anyone, but told them: "You are adults now. You have to be responsible for your behaviour."

He added: "You are at a very high risk of reoffending and your victim was particularly vulnerable.

"There is not a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and the only appropriate sentence is one of immediate custody."

The judge sentenced Reynolds to 18 months imprisonment and Lovell received 21 months imprisonment due to the fact he was serving a suspended sentence at the time of the attack.

Both men were also given a restraining order which prohibits any form of contact with the victim for five years, and were also banned from visiting the Esplanade for five years.