FIRE crews were “attacked by a group of young people” while out on a call last night.

The crews responded to reports of a tree fire but were set upon by the group, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Dawn Whittaker said.

She said: “I am absolutely disgusted by the fact that our Eastbourne crew were verbally and physically attacked by a group of young people last night when attending a tree fire.

“We have passed this matter to Sussex Police and I want to be clear that violence of any kind is unacceptable.

“One firefighter was taken to hospital after a stone hit him in the head.

“It’s just shocking that people want to harm the very people that risk their lives to keep them safe, very sad.

"The service welcomed the introduction of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 and we encourage all staff of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to report any incidents where they feel threatened or at risk.

"As a service we will support efforts to bring prosecutions to help protect our staff."

Sussex Police were called to the scene.

A spokesman said: "Police are investigating after a group of firefighters were targeted by youths in Eastbourne.

"Officers were called to Larkspur Drive at about 6.30pm yesterday to reports that a group of young people were throwing pebbles and planks of wood at firefighters responding to a small fire in Shinewater Park.

"One firefighter was injured after being hit on the head by a pebble.

"The fire is not being treated as suspicious.

"Police officers conducted an area search but no suspects were found.

"Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who may have any further information, should report online or call 101 quoting serial 1134 of 02/12."