Police are investigating an allegation of assault against a photographer for The Argus.

Eddie Mitchell, who has worked for the newspaper for seven years, has made a complaint to Sussex police, alleging he was attacked by David Freeman, the long-term partner of Lewes District Council leader Ann de Vecchi.

Mr Freeman, who has lived with the council leader at their home in Lewes for 15 years, was photographed as he tried to open Mr Mitchell's car door.

Mr Mitchell told police he was then assaulted by Mr Freeman who is accused of jumping into the photographer's car and throwing punches.

Mr Mitchell told police he was left with a small cut under his eye and bruises.

The alleged incident happened as Mr Mitchell accompanied a reporter from The Argus who called at Coun de Vecchi's home, hoping to speak to the council leader yesterday.

Instead, Mr Mitchell alleges that he was met with a volley of abuse by Mr Freeman, once treasurer of the Sixth Lewes Sea Scouts, after the reporter introduced himself as being from The Argus.

The reporter called at Coun de Vecchi's home to ask if he could speak to her regarding the council's decision to challenge plans for Brighton and Hove Albion's stadium in Falmer.

Mr Freeman answered the door and said he had just woken up. He said he could not say whether or not Coun de Vecchi was at home.

Mr Freeman told the reporter:

"Leave, before I cut your b******s off."

Mr Freeman then ran at the photographer's car.

Mr Mitchell has accused Mr Freeman of jumping into the front seat of the car and punching him, leaving a small cut under his eye and bruises. Mr Mitchell said it was an unprovoked attack.

He said: "I was quite stunned to see a grown man act in such a fashion.

"I've spoken to the police and am now leaving them to their inquiries."

Police last night said they would be investigating the allegations immediately.