A blaze, believed to have started in some old bedding under Worthing's 150 year-old pier, is now being treated as arson.

Crews from Worthing fire station were called to the scene at 11.55am today (Thursday, May 17) after several residents dialled 999 when they saw smoke coming from the area of the pier closest to the land.

The fire was extinguished but the Pavilion Theatre, located directly above the small blaze, had to be temporarily evacuated until the smoke was cleared. Staff have now returned to work.

A spokesman for the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said, earlier this afternoon, that the small blaze was started deliberately and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

On behalf of Worthing Theatres, a spokesperson has confirmed that: "The Pavilion is open as normal now - thank you all for your concern and patience while the smoke cleared”.