BRIGHTON Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) has been locked down after of a man with a machete was spotted nearby.

Parents say that children have been locked in their classrooms and police officers have been pictured at the school's gates.

A helicopter is flying around the site in Lewes Road.

A reader, whose son is in Year 9, said she received a message from the school at 3.33pm today.

>> Live updates: Brighton school lockdown amid machete fears

The parent said: "The school sent a vague text which panicked all parents who then all rushed down including myself."

The message read: "All Year 9 Students have been asked to remain in the school building until at least 3.50 due to an incident in the local community. Updates to follow."

Sussex Police were called to the scene at 2.55pm amid claims a man was in possession of a weapon. 

They have now confirmed a search is underway following reports of a man carrying a machete. 

The Argus: Parents outside the school gates this afternoonParents outside the school gates this afternoon

The police have also escorted the pupils of the school's premises while that search is underway. 

People have been told to avoid the area while the police continue the search. 

A spokeswoman for the Sussex Police said: "We responded to a report of a man believed to be in possession of a machete in a woodland area in Lewes Road, Brighton, at 2.55pm today.

"A search of the area is continuing by officers and the police helicopter is assisting. Students at nearby Brighton Aldridge Community Academy were kept inside the school as a precaution. No one was threatened or harmed. 

"They have now been escorted out of the school by officers to return home safely and told to avoid the woodland area where the suspect was reported to be."

The incident is currently ongoing with police still searching for the man.