They used to be a pair of unlikely film stars protected for future generations. 

But after one of these elaborate matching bollards was damaged, town hall bosses have turned them into “little and large”.

The mismatch in the alleyway outside the Regency Tavern in Russell Square, Brighton, was created on New Year’s Eve when one of them was smashed.

Days later staff from Brighton and Hove City Council replaced the damaged Grade II listed bollard with a plain stump. 

Now residents are urging the local authority to foot the bill for a replacement so the pair, which featured in the opening scenes of 1948 film Brighton Rock, can be reunited.

Suzanne Hinton, the secretary of the Regency Square Area Society, said: “This is between the council and the council.

“It is a conservation area and they are listed bollards so it is the council’s responsibility to ensure it is put back as it was. “I have no idea how much it will cost to replace it.

“But if they cannot find the old one then they will have to recast a new one which will cost a lot of money.”

Paul Smith, the owner of The Regency Tavern, said: “They are in Brighton Rock. The film starts off showing the seafront properties, including the place where I live in Marine Parade.

“Then it pans through to what it calls the scruffy part of town and it ends with a shot of the alleyway

“We get a lot of people passing through at night from Preston Street or coming back from the clubs. “We had a brass hanging disappear off the front door just before Christmas.”

A council spokeswoman said the local authority only had a duty to make the area safe and it was in negotiations with local groups about who will fund the work.

She added: “We are aware of this issue and have been working with the conservation team and the local preservation group to provide a solution.

“The replacement bollard is a safety measure while the group decide on the best way forward, which is either to replace the damaged one or to repair it.”