An off-duty policeman's comments about a friend's pink shirt led to a bloody brawl outside a fried chicken take-away, Croydon Crown Court heard.

PC James Grabauskas was teasing Nicholas Hansford in the take-away after the pair had been drinking in the Cartoon Club.

The Lambeth policeman said they had been in the club on December 17 and drank five or six pints during the evening.

PC Grabauskas told the court he had been hit over the head with a bottle and his friend had been stabbed.

He added: "While waiting in the shop later I was making fun of my friend Nick's pink shirt. Then a man behind me said something about gay people.

"I asked him what he meant and he pushed me. I thought he punched me in the side of the head. Nick got involved and we manhandled him towards the door.

"Some of his punches connected with Nick, who struck him in the knee. There was a flurry of blows and we got him out of the shop."

Steven Downie, 35, of London Road, Croydon, faced charges at Croydon Crown Court of wounding 26-year-old Grabauskas, but was found not guilty. He did admit causing grievous bodily harm to Nicholas Hansford and will be sentenced on May 19.

The court was told how Downie ran off after the scuffle but returned later and threw a breezeblock at Mr Hansford.

When an ambulance arrived the court heard there was another commotion during which Mr Hansford chased Downie.

PC Grabauskas said doctors at Mayday Hospital put five stiches in a wound in his head.

Witnesses spoke of seeing Downie with a bottle. In evidence Downie denied striking PC Grabauskas but agreed he had stabbed Mr Hansford.

He claimed others had started the trouble in the shop.

Downie, who was acquitted of wounding with intent and wounding, is being held in custody until the next hearing.