A three-year-old boy was last night fighting for his life after falling three storeys from a window at his home.

The toddler plummeted from his family's second floor flat in The Drive, Hove, into a basement terrace below shortly after 8pm.

He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, following an operation by the police, fire and ambulance crews to lift him out of the sealed area.

A firefighter who attended the scene said: "He fell a long way and is very badly hurt. His life is at risk. He lost a lot of blood.

"We very worried, as anyone with young children would be."

The boy's parents were with him at the hospital late last night.

It is not yet known how the boy was able to fall out of the window. Police officers had last night set up an investigation at the scene. One officer arriving shortly before midnight said they had not yet heard about the boy's condition.

A tarpaulin cover had been rigged up over the concrete area where he landed, at the side of a converted Victorian house, called The Gables.

A police officer was stationed to guard the scene amid torrential rain which caused flooding elsewhere in Sussex.

Scientific support officers were investigating both the flat and the area outside.

The ambulance service was first to arrive at the scene after the fall was reported. They called for help from East Sussex Fire and Rescue because the boy was in a fenced off area below street level with no steps or access.

Firefighters rigged ladder platforms to enable the boy to be lifted out.