TRADERS are angry after their cars were clamped and towed away on what they believed to be a private road.

Business owners said cars on Ethel Street in Hove were clamped despite no prior warning from the DVLA or the council.

Brighton and Hove City Council has stated that this is a council road but traders said the lack of maintenance and markings on the street led them to believe it was a private road.

Jamie McCartney, owner of Brighton Body Casting, was among the disgruntled business owners who have had their car clamped.

He said: “I’ve been parking here since February but I know local businessmen who’ve been parking here for years.

“The council do not maintain the street but they want to clamp on it.

“It is the only street in the ward without parking restrictions and is always full of vehicles being worked on outside of garages.

The businesses lie on the original part of Ethel Street, but the road has now fallen into disrepair and is not marked by any lines. Many of the businesses on Ethel Street are car maintenance garages.

Mr McCartney said cars were towed away the day after they were clamped.

He said despite complaints about the drainage of the road and flooding the council is not maintaining the part of Ethel Street where cars were clamped.

He said: “Maybe they are only towing the cars away from people who didn’t complain.”

Another Ethel Street business man said two out of six cars that were clamped have now been towed away and one of the fines has been paid.

A spokesperson from the DVLA confirmed that they had permission to clamp cars on Ethel Street.

But the DVLA has now confirmed that all action on Ethel Street will be suspended until the situation is resolved.

Andrew Wealls, councillor for Central Hove, went to Ethel Street to see the situation for himself and said something needs to be done. He said: “I think everyone has done everything right, it’s now up to the council to change its records and correct the map because it shows deficiencies.

“I would like to thank the contractors for the DVLA for giving us some breathing space to get this sorted out and the local businesses for their patience.”

A council spokesperson for Brighton and Hove Council, said: “The matter is being looked into by council lawyers and we hope to have a clearer picture soon.”