A TENT pitched in a city-centre park has been served with a "no camping notice"... after officials finally found it.

Brighton and Hove City Council officials visited the Old Steine Gardens on Tuesday to speak to people following complaints about a tent set up the day before.

However, after a look around the green, they concluded it was no longer there and left the scene.

Officials later returned after it was pointed out the tent was still pitched among the trees at the bottom of the park and have now served it with a "no camping notice".

The tent had been described as a "test case" for a Homeless Bill of Rights, which was agreed by councillors earlier this year.

The bill, which gives protection to people living inside tents, was introduced after a 2,500 signature petition called for its adoption.

The council said those at the tent are not genuinely homeless and have also been linked to antisocial behaviour in the area.

A local business manager, who did not want to be named, said occupants were storing alcohol in the trees, drinking heavily, creating noise and disturbing passersby.

A council spokesman said: “We have always taken a ‘welfare first’ approach to tent dwellers, and are continuing to do so.

“If they are genuinely homeless then we offer them appropriate support and housing assistance in line with our legal duties.

“If they are not genuinely homeless, they are engaging in anti-social behaviour.

“We have served a no camping notice on the tent at the Old Steine, and our outreach team is currently working with the occupier to offer appropriate support.

“We understand that this tent is also linked with other people who are not in fact homeless and who have engaged in anti-social behaviour in the area.

“We have reported this to the police.

“Tent dwellers who fail to engage with our outreach teams risk being served with a Community Protection Warning.

“This would require the tent to be removed by a specific time, usually the following day.

“The aims of the Homeless Bill of Rights only apply to people who are genuinely homeless.”

Conservative spokeswoman for housing, councillor Mary Mears, said: "I'm delighted they managed to find the tent.

"It's worrying listening to the council's response that, now they've found it, they think it's being used by others.

"That sounds like a community hub and not something the council should be encouraging.

"There is an alcohol ban in that area and it needs to be upheld. If it isn't, the council lays open to all sorts of behaviour.

"The council has done an awful lot of work on homeless and rough sleepers and the government has given us over £10 million to do this.

"Therefore we should not now see people on a tented holiday in a prestigious place like Old Steine Gardens."