AT LEAST a dozen fines were issued for breaches of Covid rules as people celebrated New Year's Eve in Brighton and Hove last night.

There was a large police presence following warnings that officers would take "enforcement action" if they saw any "blatant breaches and reckless flouting of Covid regulations".

In an update provided by Sussex Police shortly before 11pm, the force said it had already issued 12 fines in Brighton.

The Argus: Police take enforcement action against those involved in a beach party in Hove, in breach of Tier 4 Covid restrictionsPolice take enforcement action against those involved in a beach party in Hove, in breach of Tier 4 Covid restrictions

A spokesman said: "We're out encouraging people to follow Tier 4 restrictions to stay safe this New Year's Eve.

"We have issued 12 fines in Brighton and made 13 arrests in West Sussex for offences including affray.

"Our officers will shut breaches down and take enforcement action where necessary."

Pictures taken late last night showed city centre streets, lined with pubs and bars which are usually bustling on New Year's Eve, almost silent as the clock approached midnight.

But it has been reported that Brighton and Hove's beach was busy as people gathered on the pebbles to watch fireworks displays.

The Argus: A quiet West Street in Brighton last nightA quiet West Street in Brighton last night

Police took action against one beach party in Hove which had lit a fire on the seafront, issuing fines to those involved.

In a post on social media made just before 12am, Chief Inspector Roy Hodder of Brighton and Hove response and operations said: "Sergeant Dewing and the team on the beach having dealt with some who set a fire.

"(The) team here checking that nothing dangerous has been left behind. Enforcement action taken."

Chief Inspector Hodder later added that the Brighton and Hove Police operation launched to tackle rule-breakers over New Year's Eve had been a "success".

In a post at 3.18am today, he said: "I’ve handed over. My thanks to all who have made tonight’s operation a success, from our amazing control room team, the officers and staff deployed, our investigators and partner agencies, working together to keep the city safe."

Sussex Police have been contacted for comment. More as we have it...