Two police constables have been kicked out of the force after a street brawl with two taxi drivers.

Police constables Andrew and Duncan Simpson were charged with affray after they fought with two taxi drivers in Newcastle. A judge branded their behaviour as "disgusting".

They were convicted, and after a two-month inquiry, the disgraced brothers have been sacked by Northumbria Police over the incident, outside a pizza shop in the city's west end.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Both officers were dismissed on the charge of having been found guilty of a criminal offence."

The trouble had flared after a woman - who was with the two off-duty officers during a night out - insulted taxi drivers Muzafer Ahmed and Vaseem Mukhtar.

The drivers, who thought the insult had been racist, followed the brothers and challenged them in front of the Millennium Take Away.

Last November, Newcastle Crown Court heard how the four men traded punches while passers-by tried to separate them. All four suffered multiple cuts and bruises.

The brawling continued until uniformed police arrived on the scene and arrested the group, who had also been filmed on security television.

Andrew Simpson, 27, Duncan Simpson, 25, both from Crawcrook, Gateshead, Mukhtar, 23 and Ahmed, 20, both of Newcastle, all pleaded self defence but were found guilty of affray.

Fining each £750 plus £500 costs, Judge Beatrice Bolton said: "This behaviour was just disgusting, whoever or however it started. All four of you should be deeply ashamed."

She said it was likely that both taxi drivers would lose their hackney carriage licences.

She told the police officers: "You, Duncan and Andrew Simpson, not only have lost your characters but you will also, I am quite satisfied, lose your employment as police officers."

The brothers joined the force after serving with the forces, one as a paratrooper and the other as a marine.

Duncan Simpson was also charged in 1997 with hitting a woman during another street brawl.

He was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months in the sum of £200 after the allegation of assault was withdrawn.