SLOUGH, England (AP) _ A pair of masked gunmen burst into a courtroom Thursday and escaped with two defendants being held without bail, police said.

Several shots were fired during the incident at the magistrates court in Slough, west of London, but no one was struck, Thames Valley Police said.

A policeman suffered minor injuries when he was hit over the head with a gun butt during a struggle with the masked men, authorities said.

``It was all over in a matter of seconds,'' said eyewitness Richard Wareham, who was in a waiting room when the men stormed in. ``I had heard the gunfire go off, there was shouting and then two prisoners ran out followed by the others.''

The men who escaped were identified by the Prison Service as Richard Hurley, 19, charged with burglary, and Ricky Loveridge, 22, charged with conspiracy to burgle.

Police later said they had arrested a 22-year-old man in nearby Maidenhead on suspicion of being one of the fugitives.

A third defendant appearing in court with the pair did not flee with the gunmen, police spokesman Richard Goodfellow said.

The court building was closed until Friday so forensic officers could comb the area for clues, and surrounding roads were sealed off.