A WOMAN armed herself with a hammer and caused £4,000 of damage to a car belonging to a former friend, a court heard.

Melissa Duke targeted a Kia Picanto owned by Julie Ann McCash as part of a long-running feud between the two families, Southampton magistrates were told.

Miss McCash was visiting her late father's home in Wavell Road, Southampton, when she heard banging and crashing outside.

Graham Heath, prosecuting, said the two women had known each other for about four decades and until a few years ago considered themselves to be friends.

Referring to events which took place on December 8 last year he added: "The defendant struck Miss McCash's car with a hammer a number of times. The bodywork was dented and the wing mirrors and windscreen were shattered."

Duke also targeted the house, striking at least one of the double-glazed windows and smashing the outer pane.

In a statement read to the court by Mr Heath, Miss McCash said she was left shocked and frightened by the incident, adding: "I thought she was going to smash her way in and attack me."

Mr Heath said the defendant caused £4,105 of damage to the car, which he described as "relatively new".

Duke, 49, of Barry Road, Southampton, admitted damaging the windows of a house, damaging the windows of a Kia Picanto and using threatening behaviour.

Barry Keel, mitigating, told the court: "The two families have been friends in the past but the relationship appears to have soured.

"Rather stupidly Dash decided to have it out with Miss McCash and took out her frustration on the vehicle.

"The issue is alcohol, with the defendant having forgotten lessons learned in the past, although her drinking is not as entrenched as it was."

Mr Keel also cited the loss of self-esteem Duke suffered after she was forced to give up work to look after her father.

But he added: "She is determined to make this her last appearance in court. She wants to draw a line and move on."

Duke was handed an 18-month community order, including a requirement to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, and a 12-month restraining order which prohibits her from having any contact with Miss McCash.

She was also ordered to pay £400 compensation and £50 costs.