ABOUT 20 men and women started throwing kicks and punches during a “mass brawl”.

Police were called at about 3am on Sunday to reports that a large group were fighting on the seafront near Genting Club casino, in Western Esplanade, Westcliff.

Taxi drivers were stuck in traffic as the brawl spilled out onto the road, eyewitnesses say.

The bust-up seemed to have been triggered by two women ejected from the casino.

Taxi driver Tino Callaghan, 57, a Southend Independence Group councillor for Prittlewell ward, said the scene was “absolute chaos”.

He said he was disapppointed police were not sooner on the scene.

Mr Callaghan said: “First off, I went down there at about 2am on the Sunday and there was a wom - an who looked like she was punching the doorman.

“And then just after 3am, there was a brawl involving about 20 people.

“Nobody could drive past because there was loads of people in the middle of the road.”

He added: “There was a woman kicking hell out of a doorman.

“It was absolute chaos.”

Police turned up about 45 minutes later, by which point people involved in the fight had dispersed and the atmosphere had simmered down.

Mr Callaghan said: “By the time the police turned up, there were only two young ladies left and everyone else had gone.

“I don’t think it’s the police’s fault that they couldn’t get down in time.

“They just haven’t got enough resources because of all the cutbacks.

“Only two officers turned up.”

Chief Insp Simon Anslow, district commander for Southend, said the fight had ended by the time police had arrived.

He added: “We were called to reports of a big fight outside Genting Casino.

“The report that there was about 10 women fighting and some men were getting involved too.

“However, it all filtered out by the time police got there.”

He added: “A couple of women had been ejected and we removed one of the parties to prevent breach of the peace.”

A spokesperson for Genting said: "The matter is the subject of a police inquiry and as such Genting will be making no comment."

Inquiries are ongoing and witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call Essex Police on 101.

Alternatively, any witnesses can call contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or crimestoppers-uk.org