The parents of a toddler bitten by a fox tonight described him as a "brave little boy" who was recovering well from his ordeal.

Three-year-old Jake Jermy was bitten on the arm after disturbing a fox hiding beneath a temporary building while at a party at the Dorothy Stringer playgroup, next to the high school in in Loder Road.

Jake was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where he was treated and released following the attack at mid-day on Saturday, Sussex Police said.

In a statement tonight, his parents, Sam and Jacqui Jermy, both 35, said: "Jake was attending a private party at the Dorothy Stringer nursery on Saturday and was playing in the playground area.

"Jake told us he was going to get a ball from under one of the sheds. Jake, I'm sure, disturbed the fox and the fox responded and bit him.

"Since then he has recovered really well and is in really good spirits and is a brave little boy. We don't feel there is anything else to be said."

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The three-year-old was bitten whilst at a party at the Dorothy Stringer School in Hove.

"It is reported that the youngster saw and stroked the tail of an animal that was sticking out from under a temporary building, when it turned and bit him on the arm.”

After the incident, police called the RSPCA and an inspector attended.

The Dorothy Stringer playgroup at the school has remained closed today and pest control officers have been called.

A spokesman for the Dorothy Stringer pre-school playgroup said: “We can confirm that a child suffered injuries after being attacked by a fox at an event on our premises at the weekend.

The child is now recovering at home, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

“The playgroup is closed today as we consider how best to ensure the safety of our children and staff.

“We have been aware of the foxes for some time. The advice we had been given by a local wildlife expert was that they did not pose a threat to people.

“Our temporary building is due to be knocked down to make way for a new building in a matter of weeks.

“We have been in touch with Defra and also with a local pest control company, which is due to visit this afternoon to give advice on the action we should take.

“The nursery will remain closed until we have ensured the safety of our children and staff.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “Foxes are shy creatures and will usually avoid contact with people.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the child and family concerned and wish for a speedy recovery.

“If people have issues with foxes they should contact their local authority or a licensed pest controller.

"To discourage foxes, they should also ensure any rubbish and household waste left out is secure and not open for scavenging.

“There is also further information on our website about how to deter foxes from a particular area.

“If anyone has a concern about the welfare of a fox they can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234999."

Two weeks ago twins Isabella and Lola Koupparis were attacked by a fox at their home in Hackney, London. Did you see what happened? Call the newsdesk on 01273 544520.