More than a thousand protesters have condemned plans for a sex shop called Secret Desires.

Campaigner Steve Stevens claims there is a clear link between viewing hardcore porn such as "sadistic" bondage magazines and sex attacks.

Councillors received 57 written objections and a 1,202-name petition calling on them to reject an application for the business in Rowlands Road.

However, a significant number of protesters do not live in the neighbourhood, according to a report being considered by Worthing Borough Council's licensing and control committee on Thursday.

The police have also objected to the application, submitted by Kathleen Sutton, of Shoptonight Ltd in Moorhurst Road, St Leonards.

Mike Webb, licensing officer for Worthing police, said a sex shop was inappropriate in an area that contained at least two children's homes.

But Miss Sutton said she would open the shop whether the council gives permission or not.

She said a sex shop licence simply allowed her to stock more explicit material but she could sell magazines, DVDs, lingerie and sex toys without one.

Miss Sutton said the shop would be very tasteful rather than sleazy and warned protesters:

"I hope they have got ten years to stand outside with their placards."

The front window could be frosted, with a wall and lobby to obscure the view into the shop from the pavement.

But protesters fear children on their way to and from school might be exposed to the contents of the shop.

They are also concerned that "undesirable" people would be drawn to the area.

Mr Stevens, of Rowlands Road, who is leading the campaign, said the council should stop sex shops opening anywhere in the borough.

His petition states: "Sex shops are well known to draw undesirables and soliciting by prostitutes into an area and can become a threat to women and children."

Mr Stevens said: "I challengeMiss Sutton to get out of the sex industry because of the tremendous harm it is doing."

Another protester, who said he represented 35 churches in the borough, wrote: "Please do not underestimate the corrosive effect of pornography on the safety of our society."

Worthing protesters have previously forced the closure of a sex shop in Victoria Road, and stopped one from opening in Tarring Road.