The Conservatives are celebrating in Adur after snatching four seats from their rivals.

Three of the gains were made at the expense of Labour and one of the council's five Independent seats also fell to the Tories.

The biggest blow of the night was the loss of Labour heavyweight Brian Whipp's Hillside ward in Southwick. He was beaten into second place by Conservative Ken Eade.

Mr Whipp said national issues had played a large part in the Labour losses.

He said: "I think a lot of people were against the war in Iraq and did not vote for Labour because of that."

He added: "Obviously, I am sad to have lost after four years as an Adur councillor but that is politics."

Geoff Howitt, leader of the Labour group, beat veteran Tory candidate and former Argus journalist Harry Treadwell in a two-horse race in St Mary's.

Conservative group leader Neil Parkin said: "All I can say is, didn't we do well? With our Independent colleagues from Shoreham Beach we now hold 29 out of the 39 seats on the council."

Fifteen seats were contested in 13 wards, one councillor per ward except for Peverel and Southlands, with two each.

Turnout was 31 per cent, two per cent down on last year.

However, returning officer Ian Lowrie said the postal ballot had been a success with 70 per cent of the 4,600 forms returned.

RESULTS (* indicates sitting councillor)

BUCKINGHAM: Elected - Debra Mandy Kathy Kennard (C) 901*. Not elected - Peter Ernest Osmond (L) 257, Frank Vincent Tilsley (Green) 145.

CHURCHILL: Elected - Carol Bradburn (C) 433*. Not elected - Roy Gibson (LD) 235, Joy Denise Hartley (I) 214, Jeannette White (L) 192.

COKEHAM: Elected - Daniel Jonathan Yates (L) 553*, Brian Boggis (C) 444.

EASTBROOK: Elected - Carol Rosene Eade (C) 562*. Not elected - Simon Ross Thorpe (Labour and Co-operative) 488, Jaqueline Jane Painter (LD) 171.

HILLSIDE: Elected - Kenneth George Eade (C) 602*. Not elected - Brian John Whipp (Labour and Co-operative) 419, Robert Paul King (LD) 174.

MANOR: Elected - Angela Freda Mills (C) 485*. Not elected - Jean Woolgar (L) 239, Denise Ann Ferris (I) 170, Lionel Winston Parsons (UKIP) 136.

MASH BARN: Elected - Nicola Eves (C) 247*. Not elected - Richard Thomas Burt (LD) 193, Ann Bridges (L) 153, Patrick Anthony Beresford (I) 81, Peter Franks-Lovell (Green) 21.

PEVEREL: Elected - Brenda Collard (C) 419*, Andrew Alexander McGregor (C) 402*. Not elected - Joyce Ann Burns (L) 228, Timothy Blamire Clarke (LD) 214, John Wales (L) 180.

St MARYS: Elected - Geoffrey Frank Osborne Howitt (Labour and Co-operative) 286*. Not elected - Henry William Treadwell, known as Harry (C) 99.

St NICOLAS: Elected - Michael Edward Howard (C) 642*. Not elected - Alan Reginald Heselden (L) 360, Moyra Martin (Green) 203, Kenneth James Bishop (UKIP) 119.

SOUTHLANDS: Elected - Peter Berry (L) 503*, Sue-Ellen Murrell-Ashworth (L) 385*. Not elected - Felicity Ruth Deen (C) 364, Laura Graysmark (C) 361, Sydney Richard Little (LD) 170, Louis Gibbs (Green) 109, Eric Faulkner-Little (UKIP) 108, Collin Michael Henn (UKIP) 79.

SOUTHWICK GREEN: Elected - Iris Betty Hayward (C) 544*. Not elected - Steven Philip Carden (L) 261, Anthony Charles Stuart (LD) 192, Esther Rees (Green) 78.

WIDEWATER: Elected - Christine Turner (C) 612*. Not elected - Doris Geraldine Martin (LD) 364, Adrienne Lowe (Labour and Co-operative) 321, Edwina Joan Weekes (I) 143.