Britain came to a standstill today to pay tribute to the victims of the US terrorist attacks.

A three-minute silence was held across the country at 11am.

Thousands of people joined the silence which was marked in Brighton and Hove with a firing of lifeboat maroons.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Ken Bodfish said: "We all want to express our sorrow and share our thoughts for people who have lost loved ones."

Coun Bodfish said it would be a public demonstration of UK sympathy for bereaved families on Tuesday.

Bouquets of flowers were left at the Peace Statue and flags across the county were flown at half mast. Memorial services and prayers were remembering the victims of the suicide bombers who hijacked four passenger planes and crashed them into the World Trade Centre in New York, the Pentagon in Washington DC and fields near Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Mayor Harry Steer opened books of condolence in both Brighton and Hove town halls.

He wrote: "My deepest and most heartfelt sympathy for the people of America. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this most grievous time."

One of the first to sign was an American from Oregon, 25-year-old Kasmira Hebden, who is living at Hampton Place in Brighton. She said: "I want everyone to be together and be strong at this time."

More than 200 people had written their thoughts in a condolence book at Eastbourne Town Hall, where the Union flag was flying at half mast.

The first to sign the book was Eastbourne mayor David Stevens. He wrote: "From the people of the borough of Eastbourne, I pass heartfelt condolences to the people of the United States of America on the terrible tragedy that has struck in the heart of a great country."

People yesterday filed solemnly into the town hall to sign the book.

One message read: "Hopefully you will catch the perpetrators who did this evil thing.

"Our deepest sympathy to all the people who have lost loved ones."

Another person simply wrote: "Nothing will ever be the same again."

A service remembering the victims is being held at St Mary's Church in Old Town, Eastbourne, from 9.45am on September 23.

Lewes Town Council also opened a book of condolence at the town hall and a special service will be held at St Michael's Church, Lewes, on Sunday at 5pm. Coun Ann de Vecchi, leader of Lewes District Council offered sympathy and support on behalf of the council for families affected by the tragedy.

She said: "We express our heartfelt sympathies for families and friends of those lost and injured in the atrocious attacks in the US.

"All of us, whatever our race, ethnicity and religious background are united in expressing our shock and concern."

The Mayor of Worthing, Coun Valerie Sutton, sent a message of condolence to the American people.

She wrote to Ambassador William Farish at the American Embassy: "I am writing on behalf of the people of my town of Worthing, to express our sorrow and disbelief at the distressing and tragic events of Tuesday 11 September and to extend our most sincere condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones. I would also wish to express, on behalf of the people of Worthing, admiration of the heroism of the people of the emergency services, so many of whom tragically lost their lives in helping their fellow men and women."

And a book of condolence has been set up in the town hall, Chapel Road, Worthing, for the public to sign.