A man who assaulted two passengers after they complained about him swearing in front of children on board a P&O cruise ship has been jailed for 21 months, police said.

Paul Evans, of Parkview Gardens in Clayhill, Essex, was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court after he was found guilty of two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm.

The incident involving the 45-year-old and his former partner, Tabatha Young, took place on board P&O’s Britannia, which was travelling to Southampton from Bergen, Norway, on July 26 2019.

A Hampshire Police spokesman said: “The couple were in the Horizons restaurant, drinking alcohol, when they started swearing and using inappropriate language in front of other families and children.

“A woman in her 40s approached the couple and asked them to stop swearing as it was upsetting the other passengers, but Evans started swearing at her.

“This led to an altercation between Evans and other passengers on board, during which Evans assaulted a 50-year-old man and a 52-year-old man.

“The restaurant staff alerted the ship’s security, who attended and detained Evans and his partner until the end of the cruise.”

The two victims were treated for their injuries at the on-board medical centre and Evans and Young, as well as another passenger, were also treated by medics.

Young, 43, of High Road, Chigwell, Essex, previously pleaded guilty to one count of actual bodily harm after assaulting a woman in her 40s during the incident.

She was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 180 hours of community service.

Detective Constable Lisa Robins said “This was a nasty incident that happened on board a cruise ship in front of families and children.

“Nobody should have to tolerate inappropriate and abusive language or behaviour.

“Alcohol can often lead to violence and we simply won’t tolerate it.

“Having a few drinks does not excuse criminal behaviour, in any setting.”

A P&O Cruises spokesman said: “We will not tolerate disruptive behaviour on board our ships.”