Two brothers were set upon by a gang of men and women, punched, kicked and knocked to the ground in a homophobic attack in County Durham.

The attack happened in the village of Spennymoor in the early house of Monday morning.

The brothers, aged 26 and 21, were on their way home from a nightclub when they passed the Victoria Inn, the BBC reports.

A gang of men and women confronted them and hurled homophobic abuse the pair, then assaulted them.

The brothers sustained injuries to the head and face.

They then contacted police and followed the gang to a nearby housing estate.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary told the BBC, “This was a nasty and completely unprovoked assault, with homophobia clearly an aggravating factor.

“We want to hear from anyone who was in the area and knows anything about it.”

The attack follows the launch of a campaign by the Home Office last month to tackle homophobic hate crime and help make gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people (LGBT) feel safer has been published by the Home Office today.

“Tackling Homophobic Hate Crime” highlights good practice from around England and Wales, and stresses the best way for crime reduction agencies, including the police, to do more to crackdown on crime motivated by prejudice or hate.

There were over 1,000 homophobic incidents in London alone in 2005, but police estimate that around 90 per cent of hate crime is not reported.