FOUR teenagers have been arrested following an altercation in which a knife was pulled.

A report was initially made by a police CCTV operation, who spotted a large knife being taken out of a rucksack by a boy on Hastings seafront.

An altercation ensued involving the boy and a number of other young people in front of St Mary in the Castle at 5.15pm on Thursday, March 24.

While some of the group ran from the area, officers arrested a boy on suspicion of being in possession of a knife blade in a public place and affray.

No knife was found during the arrest and so a Section 60 order was authorised, allowing officers to conduct stop and searches in the area in a bid to find the weapon.

During subsequent searches, two lock knives and bags of Class B drugs were found and seized.

Three further boys were arrested on suspicion of offences including possessing a knife blade in a public place, affray and possession with intent to supply a controlled Class B drug.

Searches were then conducted at an associated address and further drugs and weapons were found and seized.

One boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with possession of a knife blade in a public place.

The other three boys have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Detective Sergeant Daniel Beek said: "Thanks to the vigilance of a police CCTV operator, officers were able to quickly respond to reports of a knife in the town centre and disrupt a group of people involved in an altercation.

"Knife crime, violence and anti-social behaviour has no place in our community and when we become aware of incidents like this, we will use the policing powers available to us to address it.

“Sometimes that's a dispersal order or like in this instance, a Section 60 order allowing stop and search.

"This proved effective in allowing us to search for harmful weapons and drugs, and was done with the purpose of protecting people from harm, keeping our communities safe and identifying those intent on committing offences.

"This altercation happened in a busy tourist location on a sunny day, and we understand it may have caused distress for those who were in the area at the time. We hope our robust response provides some reassurance that we take reports of this nature very seriously and will respond appropriately.

"We continue to ask anyone who did see what happened to contact us if they have any information which could assist with the ongoing investigation."

Anyone with information can contact police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 961 of 24/03.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.