FOUR men could be facing prison sentences for their roles in a disturbance which marred an engagement party at a village social club.

The warning was given by Judge Jonathan Carroll to all four defendants who have now admitted a charge of affray stemming from disorder which broke out at the celebration staged at Newhouse Club and Institute in Esh Winning, on April 6 last year.

Violence arose after claims were made of underage drinking and gate crashing.

Brothers Kevin, 36, of Front Street East, and 35-year-old Andrew Rutherford, of Market Crescent, both Wingate, and Gareth Laidman, 29, of Front Street, Sherburn Hill, admitted the charge at a recent court appearance.

They appeared at Durham Crown Court alongside 52-year-old Peter Jones, of Evenwood Road, Esh Winning, who admitted the single count at yesterday’s hearing.

Barristers for all four defendants asked for preparation of background reports prior to their sentencing hearing.

Judge Jonathan Carroll agreed and told them: “I haven’t seen the full footage from cctv at the club, but I’ve seen stills and, from what I’ve seen, it crosses the custody threshold in all their cases.

“They can all have reports and bail on the existing terms, and we’ll set the sentence date for February 28.

But he told the defendants: “In granting you bail that should be taken as no indication as to the sentence that will be passed.

“In each case you should prepare yourself for the possibility it will be custody.”