AN ATTEMPT to prosecute a Premiership footballer failed to get off the ground after vital evidence was lost.

Basildon-raised West Ham footballer James Tomkins was due to stand trial today charged with assaulting a police officer, being drunk and disorderly and resisting another officer during a night out at Brentwood's famous Sugar Hut.

He denies all three offences.

The centre-back, aged 24, of Hutton Mount, Mount Avenue, Shenfield, was at the venue, made famous by ITV2 show The Only Way is Essex, on December 22.

Tomkins's defence solicitor Rupert Bowers told Basildon Magistrates' Court Tomkins was acting in self defence after someone assaulted him first.

But vital CCTV from inside the Sugar Hut, which may or may not show who threw the first blow, went missing and had not been made available to defence solicitors to make their case.

The trial has been adjourned until September 29 at Southend Magistrates' Court.