A policeman has told how he was cornered by a mob of up to 100 drinkers as rival gangs clashed outside a bar.

Bottles were hurled at PC David Bennett and his colleagues as they launched a baton charge at a group of thugs embroiled in a race riot outside the Saqqara bar in central Brighton.

Two women are alleged to have been at the centre of the incident - one of the most explosive in the city centre for more than ten years - and are accused of punching and kicking a police officer in the face and back.

Sitembile John-Addey, 20, and Karen Kaur, 19, appeared before Brighton magistrates yesterday, accused of assaulting police officers and resisting arrest following the clash between black and Asian youths in the early hours of October 7 last year.

The court heard battles broke out in the street after a group of four men leaving the club were subjected to racial slurs by a young Asian man.

Andre Davis, 26, of Heron Court on Brighton's Whitehawk estate, told police he retaliated with his own racist insult.

Davis and Simon Brooke, 20, of Tavistock Down, Hollingdean, Brighton, failed to appear in court yesterday accused of harassment.

Warrants have been issued for both men's arrest.

PC Bennett was first on the scene after surveillance cameras filmed the occupants of a car parked nearby acting suspiciously. Believing the driver was a drug dealer, PC Bennett searched the vehicle.

No drugs were found but the officer found himself surrounded by a group of drinkers accusing him of racial discrimination as the nearby Saqqara bar began to empty.

Two more officers arrived before a black Land Rover crashed into a silver BMW in North Street - prompting a large cheer from a group of clubbers.

Rival groups began to spill on to the streets and scuffles broke out.

PC Bennett said he realised it was "a potentially volatile situation".

He told the court: "A huge crowd was gathering. They were very anti-police, shouting about the police being out of order."

In CCTV footage shown to the court, police were seen surrounded by a large crowd as they tried to disperse them.

More officers arrived, moving in to make arrests, leading to several fights between clubbers and police.

Officers used captor spray to prevent more scuffles as thugs began pelting them with bottles.

PC Bennett said: "It was scary really. We were very outnumbered and there were still people coming out of the nightclub wanting to get involved."

He said Luke Martin, 22, of Tavistock Down, Hollingdean, Brighton, had tried to punch him after the officer confiscated the mobile phone he had been using to film the arrests.

PC Bennett said he had the right to take the phone as it could have been used in evidence.

Footage from the phone is expected to be shown during the ten-day trial. Martin, who is also accused of assaulting police and resisting arrest, had to be pinned down by several officers.

He told police in their car afterwards: "It took three of you to take me down. I was angry and p***** off."

PC Bennett went to help other officers trying to arrest two girls.

John-Addey, of Maresfield Road, Brighton, was celebrating her birthday and had drunk a bottle of wine.

Police said she attacked an officer after he tried to arrest Ricardo Hellis, who was later given a fixed penalty notice.

Kaur, 19, of Barcome Road, Brighton, joined in. She had drunk half a litre of vodka, the court was told.

Brian Noel, prosecuting, said John-Addey punched PC Robert Elshof in the mouth and as he tried to arrest her, Kaur punched and kicked him in the head and back. PC Bennett said he tried to assist, at which point he "felt a pain in my testicles. I could see a woman had her right hand on them".

Jodie Blackstock, defending Martin, accused PC Bennett of letting the situation get out of control and said he had no reason to take the mobile phone.

She said: "You used force without reason. Mr Martin was actually defending himself against your brutality."

The trial continues.