A network of streets was swathed in smoke when a chimney caught fire early this morning.

Thick black smoke spread from a house in Ditchling Rise, Brighton, at about 2am.

A young couple had been burning wood in the fireplace of their basement flat, which had set fire to the chimney flue further up.

Firefighters said the smoke could be smelled as far away as Preston Circus.

They used an extendable ladder to pour water slowly down the chimney to douse the blaze.

Crew manager Ben Nelson of Preston Circus fire station said people who use their fireplaces should have their chimneys swept twice a year to prevent fires.