A man has signed off sick from work claiming to have been poisoned by the deadly chemical Polonium 210 after a radiation scare at a hotel.

The man has alleged he contracted the illness while working at the Ashdown Park Hotel in Wych Cross, near Forest Row.

The hotel was searched by the Health Protection Agency on December 1 after it was revealed a contact of the murdered Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had stayed there.

Its buildings were ruled clear of the chemical at the time but the allegations have prompted fresh concerns.

The hotel has launched an investigation to identify the claim.

Hotel manager Dominic Osborne said last night none of his staff was on long term sick leave.

Mr Osborne said: "When we had the scare the hotel was sealed for three hours while the investigations were carried out. Then it was reopened because the HPA were satisfied there was no cause for concern."

The HPA confirmed yesterday that no traces of Polonium or any other hazardous substance had been discovered at the hotel.

Italian academic Mario Scaramella, Litvinenko's contact who stayed at Ashdown Park, was admitted to hospital but released on December 6 after showing no signs of illness.

Mr Osborne said all his staff and guests had been offered medical checks. Letters had been sent to the guests making them aware of what had happened.

He said he was disappointed the staff member had not made his concerns known to the hotel directly.

Ashdown Park has continued to enjoy busy trade since the scare earlier this month. Mr Osborne said: "It hasn't really had an impact on us. We had very intense media coverage for about 12 hours, then everything calmed down."

Mr Scaramella had met Mr Litvinenko, who died in November, at sushi restaurant Itsu in central London on the day the former spy fell ill.

The academic is involved in an Italian parliamentary inquiry into KGB activity and was sufficiently worried by the contents of an email to ask for advice from Mr Litvinenko. He had been due to stay at Ashdown Park for five days in a room on the first floor of the west wing.

Guests were kept away from Ashdown Park on December 1 while Sussex and Metropolitan police officers and Health Protection Agency officials sealed off that part of the hotel for radiation tests.

Most of the guests were sent to the nearby Red Lion pub in Lewes Road until the checks were finished.