POLICE are warning people to be vigilant after a man was robbed by a gunman on his way home.

Two local men, 21 and 23, were walking east along Eastern Road in Brighton when a group of teenagers drove past them slowly in a small blue four-door car and pulled up ahead of them.

The four robbers got out near the junction with Rock Street and swaggered towards their victims aggressively, holding what appeared to be a gun and shouting threats including: "We're going to shoot you if you don't give us your stuff."

One of the robbers pointed what is described as a small black handgun at the victims, demanding they hand over their possessions.

The robbers took a wallet belonging to one of the victims before driving off in their car, possibly a VW or Vauxhall saloon, shortly before 1am on Sunday (13).

With many out celebrating Christmas with colleagues at this time of year revellers are being warned to be careful on their way home.

Detective Sergeant Cheryl Lewendon of Brighton CID said: "Everyone needs to be really vigilant. Any suspicious activity needs to be reported, no matter how small or unimportant it seems.

"We get a lot of reports of robbery at this time of year, especially leading up to Christmas, but the use of a firearm is really unusual. It's extremely rare but it is worrying."

She added that police can use their stop-and-search powers on people who are reported loitering around.

No shots were fired in the robbery and police are stressing that it is not known if the gun is real or an imitation weapon.

But DS Lewendon added it is not worth fighting when any sort of gun is involved.

She said: "People need to be mindful. Just keep yourself as safe as possible and then phone us. Let us try to intercept them. "It's all about self-preservation when someone's got what appears to be a firearm."

The victims were unhurt but too shaken to want to speak to The Argus.

Two of the robbers were described as black, one as white and one as mixed race. They were all aged in their mid to late teens and were wearing dark clothes and hooded tops.

DS Lewendon said: "We are not linking this with any other incident. If you saw what happened or have any other information that could help, please get in touch."

Email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting serial 66 of December 13.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.