Man drowns after pepper spray clash

Salisbury Journal: A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed officers had sprayed Mr Stent with pepper spray before he ran off A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed officers had sprayed Mr Stent with pepper spray before he ran off

A man drowned when he ran into a lake after being pepper sprayed during a confrontation with police.

Leon Stent was thought to be visiting friends at Coghurst Hall holiday park, in Ivyhouse Lane, Hastings, when he got into difficulty in the water, Sussex Police said.

Officers were called to the East Sussex campsite at 11.20pm on Saturday to reports that a man was being drunk and abusive.

A search for 30-year-old Mr Stent, who lived in Hastings, resulted in the confrontation and he ended up in the lake, police said.

A force spokesman confirmed that police had sprayed Mr Stent before he ran off.

Chief Inspector Warren Franklin said: "Officers and friends of the man encouraged him to come out of the water, but before he could do so he got into difficulties.

"Officers used boats to get onto the lake but could not find any trace of him.

"A large-scale search of the lake was launched by officers with other members of the emergency services as well as the surrounding area.

"Sadly, at around 3pm on Sunday, a body was found by divers from Sussex Police's Specialist Search Unit.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time."

The police spokesman said a post-mortem examination will be held in due course and that the matter had been passed to the East Sussex coroner.

He added: "Due to police contact with the man before his death, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been informed of the incident."

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