TWO men were robbed and beaten in separate incidents on their way home from a night out and police fear they may be linked.

The first attack happened at about 2.15am yesterday when a 26-year-old man who had been at a nightclub on Newcastle Quayside was crossing the Millennium Bridge.

He was confronted by two men who blocked his path, punched him to the ground and kicked him about the body and head before demanding cash. They made off on foot towards the Tuxedo Princess, leaving the man with a badly swollen forehead and cut lip.

The men are described as in their late teens, one was 5ft 3in, slim with ginger hair, freckles and was wearing a white tracksuit. The second man was 5ft 10in, stocky with short brown hair.

Fifteen minutes after the first assault, a 26-year-old man was followed by two men from Gateshead Interchange to the Swallow Hotel where he was attacked and robbed. He suffered a bruised eye.

The attackers are described as aged between 20 and 25, 5ft 8in. One had short dark hair and was wearing a hooded top. The other had blond hair and was wearing a white sweatshirt.

Detectives at Gateshead CID have not ruled out that the two attacks are linked and are studying closed-circuit television footage from the area of both incidents.

Anyone with information is asked to contact them on 0191- 454 7555, ext 64047.