A group of friends were refused service at a fast-food chain because it was before 3pm on a school day.

The girls, who are Year 10 pupils at Hove Park School, had a half day from school and had been given money by their parents to buy lunch.

However when they tried to order food just after 12.30pm on Thursday at Burger King, on the Goldstone Retail Park in Newtown Road, Hove, the cashier refused to serve them.

Vanessa Pendry, whose 14-year-old daughter Jessica was in the group, said: "I rang Burger King and spoke to the assistant manager who didn't know anything about it. But he spoke to the lady concerned and she admitted she had said she wouldn t serve them before 3pm.

"I was given a customer service number, which I couldn t get through to, so I called the restaurant back and spoke to the manager.

"He said they actually got rid of the girls because they had been abusive but I knew that wasn't true as they aren't like that.

"With the amount of bad press some kids get I thought it was unfair, especially when there are no signs to say this is a policy.

"Surely it s against their human rights to be denied food. I don t agree with the policy and if it is a policy why don't they make is clear?"

Jessica said: "We were quite surprised when the lady said she wouldn't serve us and we asked why.

"When she told us we didn't argue, we just went to KFC instead."

A spokesperson for Burger King refused to comment on the 3pm issue but confirmed that the restaurant was working closely with police following a number of reported incidents in Hove to reduce anti-social behaviour in the local area with a number of initiatives.