Trevor Palmer, 29, had a brick in his hand when approached by the vehicle’s owner in George Street East, Silksworth, at 11.20pm on Tuesday, April 19.
Drunk Palmer, of Strathmore Crescent, Benwell, Newcastle, had already damaged a window and wing mirror of the vehicle, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Winchester said heavily convicted Palmer dropped the brick – and was arrested soon after by police.
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She told the hearing: “The car’s owner was awoken by a neighbour who rang to say a man was trying to break into his car.
“The owner ran outside, and he saw the defendant standing next to the vehicle with a brick in his hand.
“He was fearful that the defendant would attack him, and he told him to put the brick down.
“The defendant stumbled and dropped the brick which the car’s owner picked up and placed out of the way.
“He noticed damage to the offside wing mirror and scratches to a door.”
Palmer pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage of £50 and common assault.
The court heard he has 61 previous convictions from 106 offences, which include seven against the person and 23 against property.
His most recent offence was an attempted burglary in March for which he was handed a 12-month community order.
Harry Burn, defending, said Palmer had alcohol and drug addictions and was living in a supported housing complex where he was getting better health help.
He added: “He was drunk at the time, he accepts that. The gentleman feared he may be assaulted but he wasn’t.
“He put the brick down and the other gentleman took it away. He was drunk and he broke a window.
“Two weeks ago, he was admitted to hospital due to his drinking. He is being helped with his addictions, both alcohol and drugs.”
Magistrates ordered Palmer to pay his victim £100 compensation, half of which was for distress caused.
They also told him his existing community order would carry on to completion.
There were no court costs or victim surcharge.