Described by a judge as being the "hitman" in a blackmail plot, 38-year-old Paul Seymour of Stratton was given a 51-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Truro Crown Court on Monday.

Seymour, of New Road, Stratton, Bude, will be under supervision for that period and for the first six months must live at Cross Reach House, a residential home in Plympton. He must also pay £200 towards the prosecution costs.

Seymour pleaded guilty in February to two charges of blackmail on the basis, said Judge Christopher Elwen, that he was involved in a scheme to get money from Mr Anthony Wooldridge who had asked for help to have his father's assailants beaten up.

"You were intended to be the frightener, to look capable of doing something unpleasant to Mr Wooldridge if he did not come up with the money," he said. "He did come up with some but the final demands were not met with the result that you and two others were arrested.

"Offences of this nature are far too serious for

anything other than a custodial sentence. But the root of your problems over the years has been drink. I adjourned sentence to see if you were capable of tackling the problem with an element of help woven into the punitive package to enable you to become a useful member of society. I am told that this is