PART of a beach was evacuated yesterday after a suspected unexploded mortar shell was found.

Police began to ask people to leave an area of Brighton beach at about 2pm, after a “suspect device” was found by a metal detectorist.

Officers cleared the beach between the Albion groyne and the donut groyne, west of the Brighton Palace Pier, and then extended the closure further west, up to the carousel.

A section of the promenade was also shut for part of the afternoon to cut off access to the beach while officers waited for the bomb disposal team to arrive.

Police urged people to stay away from the area, which was closed off for several hours.

At 8.33pm, Brighton and Hove Police issued an update on the situation.

A spokesman said: "We’d like to thank the public for their patience and understanding as we cordoned off a section of the beach and promenade just west of Brighton Palace Pier this afternoon.

"This was after an item – possibly an unexploded mortar shell – was discovered.

"It has since been washed away with the tide, and in liaison with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal, the cordon has been removed."