A bust-up between two lap-dancers in a Carlisle nightclub had to be broken up by their boss, a court heard.

The ill-feeling between the two dancers at the city's Rouge nightspot boiled over as Alexandra Bryan kicked Abbie McEvilly's bag so hard that it became airborne, hitting another woman in the face.

Thirty-year-old Miss Bryan was accused of grabbing the other woman’s head before punching, scratching, and slapping her as they grappled on the floor.

Miss Bryan denied an assault by beating.

After hearing evidence from four of the club’s dancers - including the defendant and the alleged victim - magistrates sitting at the city's Rickergate court declared Miss Bryan not guilty.

Prosecutor John Moran told magistrates that the evidence showed Miss Bryan was the aggressor, but defence lawyer Peter Grogan said there was strong evidence to show his client acted in self-defence.

Violence erupted when the two dancers were in the Botchergate club’s changing room at 10.30pm on November 11 last year, getting ready for work. At the time, Miss McEvilly was naked, the court heard.

The argument erupted after somebody told the defendant Miss McEvilly was saying bad things about her behind her back. Miss McEvilly accused the defendant of "clawing at her forehead", knocking her to the ground.

"She [the alleged victim] was then further assaulted, and that included kicking,” added the prosecutor.

A second prosecution witness - another dancer and friend of Miss McEvilly - said she saw Miss Bryan on top of the other woman, punching, slapping and scratching. The witness denied that she was protecting her friend.

Yet another dancer, Jessica Kennelly, a friend of the defendant, saw the argument between the women escalate.

Miss McEvilly pulled the defendant’s hair, and they ended up on the floor, scuffling, she said. "Alex kicked a bag, and it ended up hitting one of the other girl's in the face. I don't think it was deliberate," she said.

She said Miss McEvilly was on top of Miss Bryan, trying to kick her and pull her hair. The fight ended when the club's manager intervened.

Later, in the bar, Miss Bryan suggested speaking to Miss McEvilly and sorting it out but the other woman was not interested, said Miss Kennelly.

Asked why the altercation had escalated to become physical, the witness said it was because Miss McEvilly had pulled the defendant's hair.

Delivering their not guilty verdict, magistrates said they had concluded she acted in self-defence and that her actions had been proportionate.

Miss McEvilly hails from Newcastle and Miss Bryan from Manchester.