A child who was heard to shout that she was in a car with a rapist has been found safe and well.
Police appealed for help to trace two children, a woman and a man who were seen arguing in a car being driven at speed on Saturday (December 27) at 8.30pm.
Witnesses saw a people carrier turn from Northgate Road onto Peglar Way and accelerate towards the Asda store.
A police spokesman said the car was being driven by a man. His front seat passenger was a girl of about seven who was seen to scream and shout from the vehicle that the driver was a rapist.
Detective Inspector Andy Bennett, of West Sussex CID, said: “Officers have been out to speak to the man and we are satisfied that all those involved are safe and were not in danger.
“The witnesses did the right thing in raising the alarm because they could not know that this was not a serious incident.
“We had to investigate this as if it was serious but are glad that it has turned out not to be.”
He thanked the public and the media for their support.