Residents have begged for a city centre alleyway to be gated at night after a string of violent crimes including muggings and attempted rapes.

In one of the worst of the incidents one man living in Ship Street Gardens, in The Lanes, Brighton, had a bottle smashed over his head by muggers who attacked him on his front doorstep.

Now members of the Ship Street Gardens Residents’ Association have been backed by Sussex Police and local councillors in calling for lockable gates to be installed at either end of the footpath, which leads from Ship Street to Middle Street.

Nic Ramsey, who lives in Ship Street Gardens, where her shop She Said is based, said: "Since 24 hour licensing came in it has been a never-ending series of problems.

“There is so much noise and anti-social behaviour, our homes have been vandalised and there are violent crimes all the time.

"I've heard horrendous fights happening right outside my window and there have been so many violent attacks.

“Having gates locked between 10 or 11 at night until six or seven in the morning would solve it all."

Her ex-boyfriend was a victim of one of the attacks, losing a pint of blood after having a bottle smashed over his head as he arrived home.

Residents have complained of regularly having people vomit on their doorsteps, ring their doorbells and urinate through their letterboxes at night.

Brighton and Hove City Council said it was consulting over proposals to install gates, which had been supported by most of the alley's 24 property owners.

They are expected to meet opposition from the Ramblers Association and others living elsewhere who want the right of way along the alleyway protected. It is a well used shortcut even at night.

Barmaid Victoria Hall, 26, from Hassocks, said: "It would be a real shame if they start locking it. It will be a long way around to get between the roads if they do. It's also quite a nice alley to walk along, which is an unusual thing to have in a city."

It is one of a several similar areas in the city which have applied to be gated under new legislation introduced by the Government in 2005.

Each would need national approval to be given the go ahead.

Residents have until Tuesday, August 25, to respond to the Ship Street Gardens consultation at

If the council decides to go ahead with the scheme it would have to make a national level application which would require another public consultation.

A council spokesman said: "It is by no means a done deal. It is quite a long and complicated process."