A group of travellers from Bradford were involved in a “quite atrocious” fight with locals at a village pub in the North-East.

One person had a sawn-off shotgun forced into his mouth during the vicious brawl at The Flintlock Inn, in West Cornforth, County Durham.

The pub was closed down by licensing chiefs yesterday amid fears it could be the scene of further flare-ups.

Police were called to the pub on Monday night after the fight broke out between locals and a group of travellers from the Bradford area, who described themselves as bare-knuckle fighters.

Sgt Tim Robson described the incident as “a quite atrocious set of violent offences”, which involved people linked to the pub brandishing weapons and inflicting a catalogue of wounds upon patrons.

He told Durham County Council’s statutory licensing sub-committee, which met at Chester-le-Street Civic Centre yesterday, that members of the travelling fraternity had been drinking in the pub after attending a funeral.

A row broke out and associates of those running the pub left the premises only to return wearing ski-masks and carrying weapons. At least one sawn-off shotgun was brandished along with knives and baseball bats.

Injuries sustained included stab and slash wounds, double fractures of the wrist, a wound to the crown of the head and numerous cuts and bruises.

Sgt Robson said: “This was a very serious, nasty heated and protracted assault which took place. Clearly retribution is likely if it continues to stay open and we have serious concerns there will be immediate retaliation and violence.”

He also told councillors the pub CCTV system was switched off for 40 minutes during the violent incident, which he believes was done intentionally by the pub management. And he said designated premises supervisor Nicola Bush, who was not in charge on the night, had shown a ‘lax attitude’ towards the role.

The committee agreed to suspend the Flintlock’s premises licence with immediate effect and remove Nicola Bush as designated premises supervisor.

Durham police confirmed two men and a woman have been arrested in connection with the incident.