BEACH hut owners are demanding action on "escalating" antisocial behaviour before a "summer of mayhem".

Hove Beach Hut Association (HBHA) has written to the city council after a week of criminal behaviour which saw property vandalised and a police officer knocked out with a glass bottle.

The association's founder and Conservative Wish Ward councillor, Robert Nemeth, said: “We can’t have another summer of mayhem on Hove seafront where criminal damage, assaults and antisocial behaviour generally become the norm once again.

The Argus: Councillor Robert Nemeth(founder), Cathy Biggs (Chairman) and Peter Revell (Secretary) of HBHACouncillor Robert Nemeth(founder), Cathy Biggs (Chairman) and Peter Revell (Secretary) of HBHA

"I wish to publicly support Sussex Police whose officers had an incredibly tough job to do in breaking up a crowd that was causing criminal damage and general disturbance.

"The cowardly actions of the individual who threw the bottle are telling signs of a nasty piece of work who has no place in a civilised society.

"Police, council, parents and teenagers themselves must now act to ensure that antisocial behaviour stops immediately.

"With so much to do in this city and so many hobbies to choose from, I’m amazed that smashing bottles on Hove Lawns is considered to be a useful pastime."

It comes after several teenagers were spotted running across beach huts at about 11.30pm last Monday.

The Argus: Pictures of the 'youths' running across the beach hutsPictures of the 'youths' running across the beach huts

Sussex Police said they attended the incident and "words of advice" were given.

Witness Kate Orr said: "I'm very used to hearing parties here and celebrations.

"This was far more aggressive. There were about 15 people with sticks and at least two axes, banging wood and shouting.

"I could see people on the roofs jumping and pulling the wood off the top of the huts."

Ms Orr, who works with young people, said the actions of these people should not be used to "demonise" young people in general.

The Argus: Damage on the Hove beach hutsDamage on the Hove beach huts

On Saturday night, police were called to reports of antisocial behaviour involving a group of some 200 people.

They attempted to move the group on from Hove Lawns and Brunswick Square.

But one officer was struck in the face with a glass bottle, which knocked her unconscious.

The Argus: A police officer was knocked out after a bottle was thrown on Hove LawnsA police officer was knocked out after a bottle was thrown on Hove Lawns

There was a fracas and a "very large crowd surrounded officers trying to detain a suspect".

Police had to use Captor spray during the incident during which four arrests were made.

The force then announced a Section 34 dispersal order was to be put in place.

The HBHA has now written to Brighton and Hove City Council's chief executive Geoff Raw demanding action.

The Argus: A fracas erupted after police tried to break up the gathering on Saturday nightA fracas erupted after police tried to break up the gathering on Saturday night

They have suggested a four-point plan, which includes the following suggestions for the council:

  • carry out maintenance, provide bins, fine those who litter, remove graffiti and poster art, enforce bylaws relating to cycling, dogs and barbecues and "lead by example to influence behaviour on the seafront generally"
  • introduce CCTV to monitor the build-up of large crowds and record antisocial behaviour
  • consider its "ideological stance" against Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), consider reviewing bylaws and introduce whatever measures are necessary
  • record instances of antisocial behaviour for discussion with Sussex Police in spring 2022 so that proper plans can be made.

A city council spokesman said: “Council officers and local police are reviewing the antisocial behaviours on Hove Lawns over last weekend – and how to deal appropriately and effectively with any future incidents.”