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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Mr Softee fined for ice cream war
Tony Ruscitto
Tony Ruscitto was challenged over trading on a rival's pitch
An ice-cream man called Mr Super Softee has been fined 300 for punching a rival who accused him of stealing his pitch at a shopping centre car park.

Tony Ruscitto, 46, of Manselton, Swansea, knocked Max Alemanno to the ground in front of crowds of shoppers, Swansea magistrates heard.

Ruscitto said he was visiting his daughter and people had tapped on his van and asked to buy his ice cream.

The father-of-two denied common assault but was found guilty on Wednesday.

The bench heard how Ruscitto lost his temper at Morfa Retail Park after Mr Alemanno challenged him over the his right to sell ice creams on his pitch.

I got out of the van and I just gave him a back hander. He should have had a hiding but he only had a slap
Ice cream vendor Tony Ruscitto

Mr Alemanno, who trades under the name Max's Ices, said children who witnessed the assault after he approached his rival were left terrified.

He said: "He swore and took a swing at me from inside the van. I stood back and he missed.

"I tried to reason with him and said he couldn't stay there. He swore and told me to go away otherwise he would come out and smash me.

"I told him I would take a photo of the van with my mobile phone and report him to the council."

'Van window'

"He came out of the van and swore and hit me with his right fist below my right eye, knocking me off my feet and onto my backside."

Ruscitto said he had not intended to sell ice cream when he called at the retail park to visit his daughter who was working there.

He said: "It was a warm day and people tapped the van window asking for ice cream so I began serving them.

"Max came up, shouting at me. He was swearing and threatened to beat me up.

"He tried to thump me. He threatened he was going to blow my legs away and shoot me.

"I got out of the van and I just gave him a back hander. He should have had a hiding but he only had a slap."

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