A “FRUSTRATED” father who burst into a nursery and attempted to snatch his own daughter against the wishes of his ex has narrowly avoided a prison sentence.

The man also assaulted a nursery worker who attempted to block his exit, with the child in his arms.

At Southampton Crown Court, the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a suspended sentence.

The court heard how the defendant had split with his former partner and was made the subject of a non-molestation last year.

Prosecutor Gary Venturi said the man was told he could not pick up the child by nursery staff, after they made checks with the child’s mother.

But the defendant managed to gain access to the main area of the nursery, where other children were playing at the time.

Mr Venturi said the defendant picked up his own child and attempted to remove her from the nursery.

As he attempted to leave, two staff members attempted to block his exit.

Mr Venturi said the man “shoved” one of the staff members in the process.

Mitigating for the defendant, Victoria Hill said the man’s daughter was “extremely important” to him and that he had become “frustrated” over the legal situation between him, his ex-partner and his daughter.

She said: “Frustration took over and he acted in a totally irrational and misguided manner.”

Judge Christopher Parker QC agreed to suspend the sentence for the defendant, who pleaded guilty to assault and breach of a non-molestation order.

The man pleaded not guilty to an allegation of attempting to take a child from a person having lawful control, which the judge ordered to lie on his file.

Judge Parker said: “You put the staff safety of children and staff at risk."

Judge Parker sentenced the defendant to 16 weeks in prison, which he suspended for 12 months.

Judge Parker also ordered that the man, who cried when his sentence was read out, to complete 240 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to complete a building better relationships programme and given a restraining order.