An “appalling” stabbing in Pavilion Gardens has sparked calls for a review into safety.

The victim was walking through the gardens in Brighton with two other men at 5.40am on Saturday when they were set upon by a “large group” of “youths” near the Museum entrance.

He is believed to have been stabbed in the back with a knife and was treated in hospital for a puncture wound. He was discharged the same day.

Forensic teams sealed off the garden as they searched for the weapon.

The incident comes just weeks after Brighton and Hove City Council called a meeting to address safety and anti-social behaviour at the flagship tourist attraction.

Janita Bagshawe, head of Royal Pavilion, Arts and Museums, said: “This is an appalling incident and we are working with the police as they begin their investigation.

“It unfortunately highlights the necessity of the work we've begun with our partners to tackle anti-social behaviour in the gardens.”

Brighton Museum was closed for the day as access to the entrance was sealed off and a 3D Archaeology scheduled to take place was cancelled.

David Sewell, owner of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe, was also unable to open first thing on Saturday.

He said: “The area was cordoned off. I could see officers looking around for something, which I understand was a knife.”

Mr Sewell, whose family has run the cafe for 73 years, has called for better safety measures.

He said: “With so much police over in West Street, there are not enough officers to be here at night. Ten or 15 years ago there would have been enough officers to spread around but police numbers are dwindling.

“I think the availability of alcohol is also a problem. Before, drinkers would have to go to St James’s Street to buy cans but now they can get them from three of four places nearby.”

Mr Sewell said lighting and private security also need to be improved and he had recently been approached by police to install CCTV on the cafe overlooking the gardens.

There has been a string of incidents at the park in recent months. In September a 60-year-old was sexually assaulted as she sat in the gardens at 8pm.

It is said a man grabbed her and then tried to rape her before running away.

In July firefighters were called to a suspected arson in the garden toilets in the early hours. Three months earlier, a 49-year-old woman was raped as she slept in the disabled toilet.

Eight people were arrested following Saturday’s incident and released on bail. Sussex Police enquiries are ongoing and detectives want to speak to anyone who witnessed a large disturbance involving a number of youths.

Witnesses should call 101, quoting serial number 0324 of September 20.