YOUNG girls were reduced to tears when cinema staff falsely accused them of recording a film on their mobile phones.

Police were called when the group of seven friends, all aged 12, were hauled out of Cineworld in Brighton Marina after being confronted by staff while they watched The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

The youngsters were taken outside and quizzed by Cineworld staff as police arrived. However when officers turned up they could not find any evidence of wrongdoing and let the distressed girls go on their way.

Sussex Police has since apologised for any upset and sent an inspector to the girls’ school to explain why they attended.

But parents of the youngsters are angry that Cineworld caused the distress and has not refunded any of the girls for missing the movie.

Parent Louise Lawrence said: “What I’m most concerned about is the fact a group of young girls were left in tears and nobody at Cineworld had the decency to check if they were OK afterwards.

"They were left crying and alone by themselves without much of a thought to contact any of their parents.

"We had dropped them off earlier in the day to watch the film so you would expect the cinema have some sort of duty of care.

But they were falsely accused, had the police called and then left. It’s outrageous.”

Cineworld told The Argus it got in contact with parents and apologised for the distress caused – but insisted its staff did nothing wrong.

A spokeswoman said: “While we regret that the customers felt distressed, we are confident that the correct procedures were followed. Cineworld takes its responsibility to protect the copyright of films very seriously.

"Copyright theft is a very real threat to the film industry and as such we work closely with film distributors and law enforcement agencies to prevent illegal recordings.

“If our staff see such behaviour we expect them to notify the cinema management immediately and to call the police.

"It is for the police to decide whether they feel it is appropriate to act on the information provided to them.

“In this case, the police decided that there were sufficient grounds for suspicion and chose to attend the cinema.

"However, we have taken on board the concerns expressed by the parents and we are reviewing how the policy is applied to younger customers.”

A spokesman from Sussex Police said: “We were called at 7.25pm on Friday November 28 to a report of an emergency at Cineworld at Brighton Marina.

“The girls agreed to leave the cinema with officers and the members of staff and were spoken to outside.

"They showed the officers their phones and iPads and it was clear that there was no evidence that they had recorded any part of the film.”