CRACKING down on EU nationals who have fallen on hard times will only fuel post-Brexit hatred towards immigrants - Europeans have warned.

Ten rough sleepers are to be deported after being found living on the streets of Brighton and Hove last week, The Argus revealed.

Eight men - from Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Italian and Switzerland were arrested by Sussex Police officers working together with Home Office immigration officials and have been detained in an immigration removal centre ready to be deported.

A man and woman - both German - voluntarily agreed to leave the UK.

And the move has sparked concerns that European members of the city's street community could become targets for hatred.

Brighton and Hove City Councillor Michael Impkin-Leissner, who is German, said he was appalled to hear Europeans were being targeted by immigration officers.

"If this is what the British Government is doing it will destroy more relationships with Europe.

"If there are no criminal reasons and these people have committed no criminal offence - then this sort of action simply fuels hatred.

"This is absolutely unacceptable.

"In Germany we would never send Britons home like that.

"This is yet another of the very sad effects of Brexit coming through."

The Government said the rough sleepers were in breach of free movement rights by becoming a "burden on the social assistance system of the UK" and said it was "unacceptable for anyone to come to the UK with the intention of sleeping rough" but critics condemned the suggestion people would deliberately enter Britain with the intention of sleeping on the streets.

Argus readers also raised concerns that the Government strategy could mean that Irish members of the city's street community could also face the same fate.

Richard Williams, chairman of Brighton refugee charity Sanctuary on Sea, said it was "absurd" to say anyone comes to the UK with the intention of sleeping rough.

The Home Office said it abides by an Europe-wide rule on rough sleeping.

All EU nationals who sleep rough in the UK and are deported are subject to a 12-month ban on re-entering the country.