A PUB has been forced to close temporarily after a fire ripped through its cellar during the early hours.

Firefighters were called to the Roundhill in Ditchling Road shortly before 2am after the pub's alarm sounded, and found smoke billowing from its basement.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue service said the blaze is believed to have started in a washing machine.

The pub's owner Max Aben said no-one was harmed but there is damage in the cellar, and the pub will be closed while this is fixed.

He said: "Luckily it was all contained and the damage is just in our cellar which is quite difficult to deal with. It's a big clean-up.

"It's something we should be able to fix this week and we're hoping to reopen again next week.

"We have huge gratitude for the fire department and our lovely neighbours for dealing with it.

"We're very lucky really."

Max added that the fire had happened at a busy time for the business, as the Roundhill is launching Kokedama, a new vegan restaurant and cafe in Lewes next Friday.

The pub will be contacting anyone with a booking at the Roundhill this week to reschedule for when it can reopen.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue said: "We were called at 1.45am this morning to reports of a fire alarm sounding at a pub.

"On arrival crews found smoke coming from a basement at the Roundhill on Ditchling Road, Brighton.

"At the height of the incident five fire engines were in attendance. Breathing apparatus and hose reel jets were used.

"There are no reports of injuries.

"The fire is believed to have started in a washing machine."