A man suffered serious head injuries when he was beaten up on New Year's Eve.

The 25-year-old from Hailsham was celebrating the New Year at the George Hotel, George Street, Hailsham with friends.

At 10.30pm he went to the toilet and a short time later a female friend heard shouting through a wall separating the male and female toilets. She alerted a male member of their group who found the victim being kicked and punched repeatedly by two men. They ran off out of the pub after he called for help.

The man was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital where today he was described as stable but semi-conscious.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said he had swelling and bruising to the brain and would undergo further tests to find out the extent of damage to his skull.

He is married with children and police were hoping to release his name later today after tracking down other relatives.

They are appealing for help in tracing the two 17 to 19-year-old attackers. They were wearing padded jackets and baseball caps. Police believe they had been in the pub since 9.30pm with two other men and two women.

Detective Sergeant John Cousin, of the East Downs Investigation Team, said: "This was a vicious attack on an individual who was intent on enjoying the final hours of 2001 with his friends and close relatives.

"He remains in a semi-conscious state in hospital with serious head injuries and bruising to the brain.

"I would urge anyone who heard or saw anything on New Year's Eve in or around the George Hotel in the centre of Hailsham to contact Crimestoppers anonymously and in total confidence.

"If members of the public think they have anything which may be of use I would plead with them to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 without delay."