THREE men have been handed substantial jail terms for their roles in a bloody brawl in a Bridport bar.

Bridport rugby player Tim Edwards had his ear lobe bitten off and several other people were injured in the fight at the Beach and Barnicott.

Gary John Cooper, 42, who started the violence by striking rugby player Clive Samways, was sent to prison for three years.

Barry Butchart, 32, who knocked passive spectator Mr Edwards off a stool before biting his ear lobe off, was given a 32-month prison sentence.

Thomas Grant Watts, 23, who kicked out a wooden banister spindle and used it to hit another rugby player, was jailed for two years.

Judge John Harrow, sentencing the trio at Dorchester Crown Court, said innocent people were left 'terrified' at the outbreak of violence.

Members of Bridport Rugby Club were in the bar with their wives and girlfriends on September 17, 2005 when the brawl broke out.

Cooper, of The Ride, Plymouth, and Watts, of Drew Close, Bradpole, denied violent disorder but were found guilty after a four-week trial.

Butchart, of Cherry Tree, Bridport, admitted unlawful wounding and violent disorder at an earlier hearing.

Prosecutor Michael Tomlinson told the court that Cooper has 25 previous convictions including various violent assaults.

Frank Abbott, in mitigation, said Cooper overreacted when drunk but claimed there was 'another side' to him.

"He's a very strong family man," he said. "He's been in trouble in the past but never wants to be in prison again."

The court heard Butchart had previous convictions including robbery and assault but Mr Abbott said he had addressed his problems.

"He's presented today as a completely different person to the idiot who went into the Beach and Barnicott that night and committed this very nasty offence," Mr Abbott said.

Chris Gair, in mitigation for Watts, said the incident was 'entirely out of character'.

"He doesn't pose a danger to the public," he said. "This was a one-off."

Judge Harrow slapped exclusion orders on the men, banning them from all licensed premises in Bridport for two years from the court hearing yesterday.

He branded Cooper a 'dangerous offender' and said he showed no concern for the consequences of his actions.

The 35 days the 42-year-old has already spent in custody will count towards his three-year jail term.

The court heard after the fight Butchart banged on bar windows and made chomping gestures at Mr Edwards.

Judge Harrow told Butchart his behaviour was 'demented', saying witnesses were 'disgusted' by his actions.

The 32-year-old, who had downed 12 pints of lager and four shots of vodka before the fight, will have 515 days he has spent in custody taken off his sentence.

And the judge told Watts he had acted 'very violently' under the influence of drink. The 35 days he has already served will count towards his two-year imprisonment.