THREE men sparked a brawl inside a busy Southampton restaurant after they refused to move from a reserved table.

Lewis Austin, James Grout and his son Shaun Grout assaulted staff members and customers inside The Stable, on Above Bar Street, when a group of customers asked them to move from their table.

When employees came over, the three men injured a number of people inside the restaurant, with one victim hospitalised as a result of the fight.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that Austin, 21 of Linford Crescent, Southampton, and friend Shaun Grout, 25, had spent the afternoon drinking before going to watch Southampton Football Club lose to West Ham United at St Mary’s Stadium on February 4, 2017.

Prosecutor Dan O’Neill told the court that after the game, the pair went to the restaurant where they met James Grout, 55, and other members of his family.

He said: “The defendants were told that the table was reserved for another group of people at around 7pm.

“When the group [of victims] arrived at their table they found the defendants there.

“They told the staff who advised the defendants they must leave. The defendants said they were not leaving...then a melee took place.”

The court heard that some of the customers were punched by the three men and when staff members came to resolve the situation they were also hit.

Victims sustained bruising to the face, bleeding and swelling. Mr O’Neill added: “One woman was hit and fell back into a pillar in the restaurant and ended up on the floor.

“She required hospital treatment as a result of this.”

The men were all formerly of good character, with no previous convictions between them.

Eve Shelley, representing self-employed carpet fitter Austin, told the court that when the group of victims arrived they “surrounded the table” and that Austin was not involved in the start of the incident.

Louise Morgan, mitigating on behalf of the Grouts, both of Orkney Close, Southampton said: “James Grout does not want to down play his role in the incident.

“He says he was trying to protect his wife but said in hindsight he would not do this again.”

The court heard that Shaun Grout works as a self-employed plumber and James Grout works as a service engineer at ADT Fire and Security.

All three men admitted affray, with Shaun Grout also pleading guilty to possession of cocaine.

They were all sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

They were all ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and to pay £525 compensation, £85 costs and £115 victim surcharge each.

Shaun Grout was also fined £200.