STARTLED residents called police as rival double-glazing salesmen from two West Fife firms started fighting in the street.

One of the men had to be taken to hospital after the trio, canvassers from SRJ Windows in Rosyth and Dunfermline-based CR Smith, met while trying to drum up businesses in Dunblane.

Stirling Sheriff Court was told yesterday that SRJ Windows' salesman Darren Cross had an "ongoing disagreement" with CR Smith's rep Darren Reape.

Mr Reape, 27, had moved to CR Smith from SRJ where he and Cross, 34, were once colleagues and where he had been trained by the third salesman present on the street, Andrew Jenkins, 29.

Prosecutor Cheryl Clark said: "When he was there he didn't get along with Mr Jenkins or Mr Cross. I believe he had reported them to their manager over things he didn't like about them.

"They weren't on good terms."

Jenkins, of Duncan Crescent, and Cross, of Bittern Court, both Dunfermline, had been due to face trial by jury yesterday, accused of assaulting Mr Reape by battering him repeatedly with a glass bottle and repeatedly punching, kicking and stamping on his head and body, causing impairment.

But during a lengthy delay caused by the breakdown of technical equipment, the Crown agreed to accept a plea of not guilty from Cross, and a plea of guilty from Jenkins to a lesser charge of assaulting Mr Reape by punching and kicking him.

The court was told that, around 2pm on July 21, 2017, Mr Reape was working for CR Smith in Dunblane when he met Mr Cross and Jenkins, who had been dropped off in the area by their manager.

Ms Clark said: "Mr Cross and Mr Reape became involved in an argument, which became physical and a struggle broke out between them.

"This was a residential street. All the parties were in their work uniforms.

"Due to the struggle going on between Mr Cross and Mr Reape, Mr Jenkins became involved and struck Mr Reape in the face."

The depute fiscal said it was accepted this blow was in defence of Mr Cross, and it caused Mr Reape to fall to the ground; however once he was on the ground Jenkins repeatedly punched him and kicked him.

Miss Clark said: "Bystanders in their gardens and people driving by in vehicles could see this going on."

The fracas broke up, Jenkins and Mr Cross left the area and Mr Reape was attended to by residents.

Police were called and paramedics took Mr Reape to hospital.

He suffered a black eye, swollen cheek and a cut over his eyebrow.

Defence agent Stephen Morrison, for Jenkins, who is now unemployed, said: "Mr Jenkins is unaware of any reports being made by Mr Reape to Mr Jenkins' then boss. Mr Jenkins trained Mr Reape.

"It's fair to say they didn't see eye-to-eye and, having left the firm, Mr Reape had some sort of ongoing disagreement with Mr Cross on social media.

"At times it became quite vitriolic.

"The parties found themselves in the same street and a fight developed between Darren Reape and Darren Cross.

"Mr Jenkins only became involved when his friend and co-worker screamed for help.

"Mr Cross claims Mr Reape was trying to gouge his eye out. Mr Jenkins saw blood coming from his friend's face.

"He attempted to pull Mr Reape away. Mr Reape turned and attempted unsuccessfully to punch Mr Jenkins.

"Mr Jenkins then punched Mr Reape in self defence."

He continued: "Both of them ended up on the ground.

"Mr Jenkins accepts he was able to disentangle himself and whilst beginning to get up he accepts he punched Mr Reape to the head a number of times and as he got to his feet he accepts he also, a number of times, delivered kicks to his body."

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson deferred sentence until January 9 for reports and released Jenkins on bail.

Outside court, Jenkins said: "It didn't happen the way it sounded. It's utter fabrication that he made reports about me, but it is what it is."

Mr Cross declined to comment.