A MOBILE Police office is now stationed at a central park after drug offences doubled in just over a year.

The unit at The Level, Brighton, made an arrest on its first day yesterday and it is hoped the Mobile Police Office will continue to catch and deter criminals in the area.

READ: Gangs recruit children to sell drugs at The Level

PC Richard Hall said: “The first day has been good, in the morning we had a plain clothes operation running which was successful and we had one male in custody for a drug related offence.

“People saw that happen and were quite pleased we had come down and we had made an arrest.”

The park has been plagued by an increase in violent, sexual, and drug offences in recent months.

Reports of violence and sexual offences have quadrupled since 2017.

On Monday The Argus reported that criminal gangs in the area were using children to sell drugs.

The gangs, which are usually from London, use children and vulnerable people as runners to move drugs and towns and cities in a process called “county lines”.

PC Hall said: “It is about sending the message out to people that drug dealing and drug taking will not be tolerated in The Level where families and children should be able to come down and enjoy it.”

The van is fitted with evidence bags, lockers, police radio, a laptop, and a table and chairs area.

It arrived at the park at noon yesterday and is planned to be stationed on the green during the days and evenings “for as long as possible”.

Sergeant Karen Osborn said: “We have had a good reception from the people coming down.

“They are saying it’s good to see us.

“We’re going to have officers on foot patrol and one officer based in the van.

“So if anyone wants to come and speak to us they can and we will be pleased to see them.

“It shows the community that we are listening to them and it is good for us to be down here to meet people who are using the park to see what their concerns are and how we can help.”

The skaters who use the park have also expressed concerns over the dramatic rise in crime in the area.

One skater said that teenagers are stashing weapons in the park’s flower beds in case they are attacked.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “The mobile police station will be at The Level Brighton on Thursday from midday as part of our work to engage with the community, have a presence at the Level and also for anyone who wants to speak to us about any concerns they may have about drug dealing and antisocial behaviour in the area.”