Six footballers held over sex attack

 

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

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 held in Brighton at 4.20am today. A fifth was arrested in the city at about 7.20am and the sixth in Dorset at 10.30am.

The identities of the players from the Championship side, managed by Gus Poyet, have not been revealed.

Disclosure of the arrests came after the club settled their FA Cup third round replay against non-league Wrexham 5-4 on penalties last night.

The result earned the Seagulls a money-spinning tie against Premier League side Newcastle at their Amex stadium.

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.

"This was reported at the time and the suspects were identified on Friday last week, leading to these arrests."

A spokesman for AFC Bournemouth confirmed that one of the six men arrested was one of their players, who is not being named.

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 into the investigation of an alleged offence in July last year.

"The club will make no further comment at this stage."

PA

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