Police have increased patrols in parts of Sussex as part of a Christmas crackdown on antisocial behaviour and business crime.

Officers have conducted dedicated patrols in hotspot areas of Hastings and Eastbourne between 10am and 6pm each day during the festive period.

The patrols aim to engage with the local community, offer reassurance and respond to local concerns and reports.

Over the last weekend, officers made three shoplifting arrests, with another three for drugs offences, across Hastings town centre.

On December 9, officers witnessed a suspected drug deal take place in Wellington Square.

Three men were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class B drugs.

Further searches by police led to the discovery of a small cannabis factory at an address in Westfield Lane.

Fatjon Deda, 36, of no fixed address, has been charged with possession with intent to supply Class B drugs and remanded in custody.

Damon Robinson, 34, of Amherst Close in Hastings, has been also charged with possession with intent to supply Class B drugs, as well as production of a controlled drug. He was released on conditional bail.

Both men will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court later this month.

A 47-year-old man was released on police bail while investigations continue.

Inspector Kara Tombling, of the Hastings Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Whilst the festive period brings a wealth of positive activity across our towns, it also unfortunately increases antisocial behaviour, street drinking and business crime.

“We want the members of our communities to be able to enjoy their shopping and social events and are committed to keeping the towns safe to do so.”

The Argus: Police also patrolled in Eastbourne as part of a Christmas crackdown on crimePolice also patrolled in Eastbourne as part of a Christmas crackdown on crime (Image: Sussex Police)

In Eastbourne, the neighbourhood policing team are offering a variety of awareness events in the town centre on topics such as drink-driving, fraud and scams.

Officers offered purse bells to passers-by as an effective way of alerting people if someone is trying to steal their bag or purse.

Inspector Sarah Taylor of the Eastbourne Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Engaging with our community is a crucial part of our work to reduce crime - the public are our eyes and ears.

“The visible patrols in the town centre mean we are able to provide advice and reassurance to shoppers, work with businesses and identify and protect the vulnerable.”