THIS year’s Brighton Pride was the biggest one yet, with 450,000 revellers visiting the city over the weekend.

They helped pump in about £18 million into Brighton and Hove’s economy, bosses said.

About 50,000 of the visitors came to see American popstar Britney Spears, with the festival at Preston Park proving a huge hit. Last year about 300,000 people came to celebrate.

However, it turned messy later when Pride-goers were forced to sleep on the beach or take emergency shelter at the Brighton Centre because they were unable to get trains home.

Brighton Station was shut off due to overcrowding, and Pride chiefs blamed Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) for failing to put on adequate services.

Sussex Police and the British Transport Police said they made the decision for safety reasons.

Paul Kemp, managing director of Brighton Pride Community Interest Company, said: “We want to thank all of our partner agencies, including Brighton and Hove City Council, Sussex and Surrey police, South East Coast Ambulance Service, HM Coastguard, Cityclean, St John Ambulance, as well as major transport providers, Brighton and Hove Buses and GTR and local residents without whom the weekend would not be possible.

“Brighton Pride attracts a large crowd from Brighton and Hove and further afield to enjoy the city and its beaches, to see the parade and take part in the festival.

"We are so pleased that our event brings a shared economic benefit to the city, to the tune of more than £18 million.”

Pubs, clubs and shops were jam-packed across the weekend.

Mark Such, general manager of the King and Queen in Marlborough Place, Brighton, said it was a strong weekend for the pub.

He said: "There was no trouble whatsoever here – we had a great bunch of people in the pub. It was the same craziness as each year. We had a great weekend."