POSSESSION of firearms, sexual assault, racial abuse, arson and threats to kill are among the hundreds of crimes reported at hospitals across the county.

Figures published by Sussex Police through a Freedom of Information request reveal 374 incidents were logged in one year, an average of more than one a day.

Other allegations included possession of drugs, burglary, possession of a knife and burglary and harassment.

The most common incidents were theft, common assault and public order offences.

Some of the crimes reported had happened elsewhere but were dealt with by police at a hospital.

Several cases were linked people who were drunk or on drugs and happened at weekends or Friday nights while others involved those with mental health problems.

Most callouts were to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, which reported 115 incidents between April last year and the end of March.

Eastbourne District General Hospital reported 69, Worthing 62 and the Conquest in St Leonards 49.

Hospital bosses say the number of police calls is low compared to the thousands of people coming and going every day but all incidents were treated seriously.

Chief workforce and organisational development officer for Western Sussex Hospitals and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS trusts Denise Farmer said: “We take any alleged criminal behaviour extremely seriously and our security teams work around the clock to maintain safe environments for our patients, visitors and staff.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to all types of abuse and we encourage staff to report all incidents so we can do everything we can to protect them as well as sanction those responsible.

“Thankfully such cases are rare compared to the hundreds of thousands of treatments and appointments we provide every year.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “We work very closely with hospitals across the county, not only on the relatively small number of crimes that occur in them, but also in our day-to-day work on other matters.

“They have responsibility for security at their sites.

“We have a very good relationship with them all and considering the enormous number of people who pass through their doors, whether as staff, contractors, patients or visitors, we still do not receive a large number of reports of crimes having been committed.”

A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Eastbourne and St Leonards, said: “The trust has an internal and national reporting system to allow staff to report any crime within our hospitals.”