TWO men have been jailed for their part in an organised brawl which saw 11 topless men enter a pub and violently attack four others playing pool.

Durham Crown Court heard that Byron Bowers had been drinking in The Bay Horse pub, in Bishop Auckland, on the afternoon of Friday, May 26, 2017 with his employer.

The 28-year-old told the court a group of males were making comments about his employer’s appearance which caused an argument and his employer subsequently left, angered.

A short time after, a phone call was made by Bowers and a group of up to 11 men, which included Lee Maddison, entered the pub, acknowledged Bowers with a handshake and began the attack on the group playing pool.

CCTV played in court showed Bowers take off his top before joining in with the violence, and Maddison, 31, can also be seen throwing at least four pool balls and kicking and punching at the men.

Four victims were left with fractures, lacerations up to 7cm long and bruises.

Bowers denied that the phone call was made to organise the attack, however Judge James Adkin said: “He says he did not use the mobile phone to summon other people and simply says that he joined in with the violence.

“I do not find him to be a reliable witness when he says he does not know the men who came into the pub.

“I have heard evidence that the defendant told [bar staff] to stay behind the bar, it was a clear warning that violence was about to take place.

“There is the acknowledgement and the hand shake and then he removes his shirt. They were working as a team and it seems to me he was involved in setting up the fight.”

Both Bowers, of Grey Street, Bishop Auckland and Maddison, of Whitehill Close, Sacriston, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to violent disorder.

Maddison, who Judge Adkin described as “an old hand” at pub violence was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Bowers was sentenced to 17 months.