A crowd of people were amazed to see the most famous seal in Sussex giving birth.

People flocked to the West Quay at Newhaven when news broke out on Facebook about Rusty the seal giving birth.

Emma Payne, a 38 year old education worker from Newhaven was first at the scene and originally mistook Rusty for a large piece of rubbish floating down the River Ouse.

She said: “It was a massive shock because we thought it was playing with a rock and I said that’s not a rock it’s a baby!

“It was massive for community spirit as well, when I wrote about it on Facebook about 40 or 50 people turned up, it was great for the community of Newhaven and it was the best thing I’ve ever seen."

A team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) attended the scene on Friday night and saw both Rusty and her pup swim off at around midnight.

The BDMLR knew that Rusty was pregnant and had been watching her for a while.

However, there was a very unfortunate ending to the story.

Steve Marsh, operations manager at BDMLR, checked on Rusty the morning after and found her with the body of her dead pup.

The body of the pup has been taken away for autopsy, with staff from the BDMLR believing that the pup could have drowned.

Mr Marsh added: “We think the pup drowned but we’re not sure what caused it, it’s not a good place for a seal to give birth and stress could have been one of the problems but we’re not sure."

Rusty is a ginger common seal, or harbour seal, and has been spotted many times in the waters around Newhaven.

The majority of seals in Sussex live in a breeding colony at Chichester Harbour but Rusty seems content in her unusual habitat.

Mr Marsh doesn’t expect the incident to affect Rusty and that she should make a speedy recovery.

He said: “Rusty did give birth and I’m sure she will do again, it’s nature and they all bounce back quickly.”