A mass food poisoning incident at Lewes Prison prompted a huge emergency response.

Eight ambulances and police attended the category B prison just after midday today.

The Argus was informed that at least ten people were being treated, both prisoners and staff.

The Prison Service confirmed that three inmates and three staff members were taken to hospital.

The Argus: An ambulance arriving at the hospital todayAn ambulance arriving at the hospital today (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

A source who has been briefed by staff at the prison told the BBC that inmates and staff became ill within a short space of time around 12pm.

The BBC reported that the prison kitchen was locked down but the Ministry of Justice later confirmed the kitchen reopened after "being deemed safe". 

There were initial fears that two people were in a life threatening condition but the MoJ said this was not the case.

A spokeswoman for the MoJ also said there was no indication of drugs being involved.

Ambulances took people to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where decontamination tents were set up.

A decontamination tent was also set up at Eastbourne District General Hospital.

Signs were put up saying the EDGH was closed due to a “major incident”.

A spokesman for the hospital later confirmed that it was not actually closed but was prepared to receive casualties from the prison but all casualties were taken to Brighton.

The Argus: A decontamination tent set up at Eastbourne HospitalA decontamination tent set up at Eastbourne Hospital (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

An incident support van was parked outside HMP Lewes with “CBRN” on the side.

It stands for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear.

Sussex Police said they were assisted by ambulance crews with the incident "following reports of a medical incident at HMP Lewes at around 12.30pm" today.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “We are working with the emergency services to deal with a suspected food poisoning incident at HMP Lewes.”

Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, said: "Concerned to hear about the incident at Lewes prison. Emergency services are on scene and it is important to let them deal with the situation in looking after those affected."