A secondary school is the first in the country to receive some of the 250,000 free chess sets produced by a plastics company.

Helenswood Lower School in Hastings welcomed the sets courtesy of Holloid Plastics.

The company created the items from plastic which would have otherwise have gone into landfill.

The scheme is the brainchild of sales director Fergus Christie, whose son Duncan discovered there was no chess club at the school.

Holloid Plastics has now teamed up with the English Chess Federation (ECF), based in Battle, near Hastings, to supply schools with free boards and pieces.

The first sets were handed to staff at Helenswood after the school became the source of the scheme's inspiration.

Hastings and Rye MP Michael Foster presented the equipment.

He has written to other MPs to advise them to urge schools to apply for the chess sets.

The ECF has so far received almost 4,000 requests from schools across the country.

Peter Wilson, ECF's marketing director, said: "With plastic chess sets and boards retailing at about £8 each, what we have is an injection of some £2 million into chess.

"I am not aware of anything of this scale being attempted anywhere."