A cafe boss who stood up to hoodie thugs making life a misery for his customers ended up in court - facing assault charges.

Bob Young, 49, suffered heavy bruising after being hit on his arms by the skateboard-wielding youths he stopped causing damage in Regent Arcade, near East Street, Brighton.

The youths threatened to stab Mr Young when he asked them to stop but amazingly he ended up in court while the two teenagers got off scot-free.

Brighton magistrates cleared Mr Young of any wrongdoing but he told The Argus last night the whole thing had been a waste of time, money and resources and he claimed prosecutors should have pursued the teenagers instead.

He said: "The whole thing has ruined my life and completely shaken my faith in the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

"It has cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds for absolutely no reason while two people who threatened to kill me have got off scot-free."

Mr Young's ordeal started on April 13, 2005, as he worked with partner Sarah Hills, 44, at the As You Like It Café he has owned for more than ten years.

He claims his customers had regularly suffered abuse and violence from thugs hanging around the arcade and after hearing a loud bang outside, he rushed out to find the skaters jumping off stairs in the arcade with one of the skateboards flying into a shop window.

He confronted the pair, who were then aged 16 and 19, told them to leave and picked up one of their skateboards.

The other then began hitting him hard around the arm with his skateboard before they ran off.

The café boss called the police and went out with officers in a patrol car.

They spotted one of the youths in Marine Drive, Brighton.

Police arrested the teenager and Mr Young gave a statement at Brighton police station.

But officers then viewed CCTV footage from the area and decided there was not enough evidence to pursue a case against the youngster.

Mr Young claims the footage only recorded snapshots of what was going on during the incident and does not show him being hit.

Four months later, Mr Young was arrested and accused of hitting one of the teenagers. He refused to accept a caution offered by officers as he was not guilty so the CPS went ahead with a charge of assault.

Mr Young said: "Thank God the magistrates saw common sense. This was a victory for justice and for me personally but what about those teenagers who are still out there?

"There are plenty of thugs who are making life a misery for people and the CPS just seems to ignore that. In my case they were completely incompetent because they pursued me instead of the teenagers."

A police spokeswoman said the decision to pursue the case was a decision made by the CPS.

Libby Clark, of Brighton criminal justice unit, said: "A senior prosecutor considered the evidence and was satisfied there was sufficient evidence against Mr Young to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it was in the public interest for him to be prosecuted."