The Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton is on fire.

Specialist firefighting appliances have been brought in to tackle the blaze as regular units are struggling in the high winds.

Thick smokes is pouring across the Old Steine this evening and filling the surrounding streets.

People can be seen shielding their faces from the smoke as the navigate a huge cordon which has been set up.

Fire engines are lining up along Madeira Drive as onlookers line the streets.

Latest on Royal Albion fire on our live blog here.

A spokeswoman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue service said earlier this evening: "East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have been called to a fire on Old Stein, Brighton.

"Firefighters from Preston Circus, Newhaven, Hove, Lewes, Eastbourne, Pevensey and appliances from West Sussex were called out at 5.24pm to reports of smoke.

"Crews are using a High Volume Pump and three Ariel Ladder Platforms.

"An Incident Command Centre has been set up at the scene.

"We are working with other emergency services and agencies including Sussex Police, The Environment Agency and Water Board.

"The Old Steine and part of Kings Road have been closed while the incident is ongoing.

"We are asking the public to please avoid the area and find alternative routes of travel."

This is a breaking story. More as we have it.