Five Brighton and Hove Albion players and a former Seagull have been arrested in connection with an allegation of sexual assault.

The six footballers – Lewis Dunk, Tommy Elphick, George Barker, Anton Rodgers, Ben Sampayo and Steve Cook – were all arrested yesterday (January 19) in connection with an alleged sex attack in Brighton in July.

Update: Tommy Elphick was ruled as 'of no interest to police' inquiries on Friday, January 20.

Update: No further action was taken against Ben Sampayo.

Sussex Police launched a major investigation and spent several months investigating the claim before making the arrests yesterday morning.

Four of the players – Dunk, 20, Barker, 20, Rodgers, 18, and Sampayo, 19 – were arrested as they got off the team coach when it arrived in Brighton at 4.20am yesterday following Albion’s game against Wrexham.

Elphick, 24, was arrested at his home in Brighton just after 7am.

All six footballers were taken in for questioning. Last night they were released on bail until March 21.

Police said they could not reveal exactly when and where the alleged assault took place in case it identified the victim.

But the force confirmed the woman reported the incident immediately after it is said to have taken place.

A police spokesman said: “We can confirm that five men associated with the club are assisting police into the investigation of an alleged offence in July last year.”

Former Albion player Steve Cook, 20, who is originally from Hastings, left the club recently to move to Bournemouth.

In a statement the club said: “AFC Bournemouth can confirm that an unnamed player is assisting police with the investigation of an alleged offence in July last year.”

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