A LARGE fire has broken out at a scrap yard.

Smoke is billowing from the site as emergency services attempt to combat the blaze.

A witness said five fire engines are currently attending the scene.

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "We have been mobilised to a fire at H.Ripley and Co. Ltd, in East Quay, Newhaven.

"Four crews from Newhaven, Roedean, Lewes and Preston Circus, along with an Aerial Ladder Platform, were sent to the waste management site at 3.55pm this afternoon.

"They are currently tackling a deep-seated fire involving scrap metal covering an area of 100 metres by 30 metres.

"People are being urged not to come to the area unless they absolutely have to and to keep windows and doors closed as smoke can be an irritant."

John Gearing, from Newhaven, was on his regular commute when he caught sight of the fire.

He said: “ It’s a huge great scrap heap and flames are coming out of the middle.

"It’s probably 50ft high. Its burning around the centre and there’s smoke pouring out.

“First of all I thought they were burning it on purpose.

"But then a fire engine came down – I can hear another now – and I realised things weren’t right.”

At 7.31pm an East Sussex Fire and Rescue service spokeswoman sent an update.

She said: "Firefighters are making steady progress with the Newhaven fire and the incident has now been scaled down to two appliances.

"We are still advising nearby residents to keep their windows and doors closed until the smoke plume has cleared."

MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield thanked fire crews for their work.

She said: "Please pass on thanks to all the crews involved in tackling the fire at the scrap metal site this evening at the port in Newhaven."

Sussex Fire Control responded and said: "It was a busy non stop afternoon liaising with the RNLI, Environment Agency and Network Rail as well as specialist officers.

"Requesting national assets from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) whilst also managing the response to a rescue from water for WSFRS."