Six footballers arrested in sex assault investigation

Five Brighton and Hove Albion footballers and one from AFC Bournemouth have been arrested by police investigating a sex attack.

The six men have been held on suspicion of the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Brighton last July, Sussex Police said.

Five of the men – aged 18, 19, two aged 20 and one aged 24 – are from Brighton. A sixth man, aged 20, is from Dorset.

The alleged attack was reported to police at the time but the suspects were identified only last Friday.

Four of the men were arrested in Brighton at 4.20am yesterday. A fifth was arrested in the city at about 7.20am and the sixth in Dorset at 10.30am. The identities of the players have not been revealed.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "All have been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and taken to different custody centres in Sussex where they will be questioned in relation to an alleged sexual assault on a woman in July last year."

A short statement from Brighton and Hove Albion said: "Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club can confirm that five men associated with the club are assisting police in the investigation of an alleged offence in July last year. The club will make no further comment at this stage."

AFC Bournemouth said in a statement: "AFC Bournemouth can confirm that an unnamed player is assisting police with the investigation of an alleged offence in July last year. The club will make no further comment."