THREE men have been jailed for a city centre street brawl in which a bike chain was waved about and ammonia sprayed in a man’s face.

Onlookers in Museum Street, York, were so terrified by the daylight violence - which stopped traffic - they feared for their safety, heard York Crown Court.

Simon Turner, 38, brought a bottle of ammonia to the scene of the violence, said Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting.

First he and then Christopher Edward Norton, 38, squirted it at Lee Anthony Thomas, 44, who waved a heavy metal bicycle lock chain.

Turner and Norton fled, leaving Thomas doubled up and in discomfort while witnesses poured water into his eyes to remove the ammonia.

The actions of all three men stopped traffic and scared onlookers so much they feared for their safety and called police.

Jailing the trio for a total of more than five years, Judge Simon Hickey said: “Ammonia is a deeply unpleasant and cowardly weapon to be taken into the street and used on another human being.

“That will always attract an immediate custodial sentence in this court’s eyes.”

Turner, of no fixed address, was jailed for 27 months, Norton, of Fossway, York, for 22 months and Thomas, of Burdyke Avenue, Clifton, for 12 months.

All three admitted affray, Turner and Norton carrying ammonia as an offensive weapon, and Thomas, who was sentenced separately, possession of a prohibited weapon, a stun gun found by police some months earlier.

Fiona Clancy, for Turner, revealed that while the three were waiting to start the hearing via a video link from Hull Prison to York Crown Court, Thomas had hit Turner and knocked some of his front teeth out.

She said Turner had had the ammonia in his rucksack so that he could use it to turn cocaine into crack cocaine. He had thrown it on the spur of the moment.

He had got himself mixed up in something “stupid, senseless and regrettable”.

For Norton, Andrew Petterson said he had only used the ammonia after Thomas started waving the chain.

For Thomas, Glenn Thomas said he wasn’t habitually violent.

Detective Constable Al Foy, of York CID, said: “I would like to thank the many members of the public who gave statements to the police and who attended court to give evidence.

“It was fortunate that no one was seriously injured during the incident.

“As the judge said, Turner and Norton had no idea of the strength of the ammonia or its likely effect when they threw it into Thomas’ face.

“York is a safe city and the immediate custodial sentences given to Turner, Thomas and Norton make it an even safer place.”

Mr Outhwaite said the fight started when Thomas cycled up to Turner at 7pm on September 2, 2018.

All three men fought and Turner produced the bottle of ammonia and squirted it at Thomas before putting it down. Thomas pulled out the chain he had round his body and waved it at Turner. Norton then picked up the bottle and squirted ammonia at him.

Thomas did not suffer any injury or burn from the ammonia and defence lawyers said the solution was diluted.

All three men have long criminal records and Turner and Norton have served sentences for robbery.