THREE diners were injured when a car smashed through the window of an Indian restaurant on New Year’s Eve.

The 4X4 reversed into the side of Chaula’s Indian Restaurant in Eastgate, Lewes, causing damage and showering customers in shards of glass.

Manager Neel Patel said he had a crash and then the screams of customers as the motorist drove off.

Three people were hurt in the crash and one was treated by an off-duty paramedic who was dining in the restaurant.

Mr Patel said: “I was working in the kitchen when I heard a loud bang and then the screams of customers.

“A 4X4 had reversed through the window, then they put the car into first gear and drove off.

“I grabbed the first aid kit and some towels and our customers all helped to look after those who were hurt.

“Everyone was shocked, shattered glass went everywhere.”

Meanwhile restaurant owner Chaula Patel, who has run the curry house since 2007, said: “It was absolutely shocking. I was there working and I’m still not fully with it. I don’t know how to explain it.

“A car was coming down the road, perhaps it was going the wrong way.

“It lost control and crashed through the window.

“I thought ‘goodness gracious’, but it could also have been much worse. He just ran away, he drove off.”

On Twitter one witness wrote: “So much for a quiet night out in Lewes. Luckily no one seriously hurt, cuts and bruises... Hope they catch the p**** who just drove off in a silver Discovery.”

Neel said: “We have boarded up the restaurant as best we could. The car took out stone pillars and the glass.

“The building is listed, so we have had to get a structural engineer in.

“There are huge cracks in the wall, the costs and damage is going to be ridiculous.”

One diner needed stitches for a head wound but it is understood that none of the other casualties required hospital treatment.

The man with stitches returned to the restaurant yesterday morning to tell staff he was fine.

Sussex Police confirmed three people had minor injuries.