Brighton and Bournemouth footballers in sex assault inquiry

Secure van arriving at a custody centre in Sussex The six footballers were arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman

Five Brighton and Hove Albion footballers and an AFC Bournemouth player have been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman.

The five men from Brighton and one from Dorset, questioned by police about an attack in July, have been bailed.

Sussex Police said an 18-year-old man, a 19-year-old, two men aged 20 and one aged 24, all from Brighton, and a 20-year-old from Dorset were arrested.

They have been released on bail until 21 March, pending further inquiries.

Brighton and Hove Albion confirmed earlier that five men associated with the club were arrested.

Former Seagulls player Steve Cook, who was signed by Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee at the beginning of January, was the sixth man arrested, the BBC understands.

'Assisting police'

The identities of the five other players have not been revealed.

A spokesman for Brighton said: "Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club can confirm that five men associated with the club are assisting police into the investigation of an alleged offence in July last year.

"The club will make no further comment at this stage."

The Brighton and Hove Albion players were arrested the day after the Championship club, managed by Gus Poyet, beat non-league Wrexham in an FA Cup third round replay.

An AFC Bournemouth spokesman said: "AFC Bournemouth can confirm that an unnamed player is assisting police with the investigation of an alleged offence in July last year.

"The club will make no further comment at this stage."

In a statement, Sussex Police said: "All have been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and taken to different custody centres in Sussex where they will be questioned in relation to an alleged sexual assault on a woman in July last year.

"This was reported at the time and the suspects were identified on Friday last week, January 13, leading to these arrests.

"Four of the men were arrested in Brighton at around 4.20am this morning (Thursday), a fifth, also in Brighton at about 7.20am and the sixth in Dorset at 10.30am."

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