A vicar was reported to police by council contractors while he was taking photos of them as part of a bitter dispute over parking.

The Reverend Edward Leir, a lay vicar, of Tivoli Road, Brighton, awoke on Thursday morning to find council workmen revising the double yellow lines and reducing the number of parking bays.

Mr Leir went outside to take photos of the work being done and the situation kicked off.

He said: “A workman who was stood around smoking rushed up to me and came right up in my face saying that I could not take photos and that he was going to call the police.”

Mr Leir said the situation was very “intimidating” and that the workman told him “he was going to be arrested”.

The police attended the scene and attempted to defuse the situation.

A spokesman for the Brighton and Hove City Council said: “The police were not called because of the resident taking photographs.

“The resident was felt by workers to be getting too near the work which involved burning off existing white lines with a burning lance.

“They were unable to persuade him to stand back. The police spoke to him and the problem stopped.”

Mr Leir has rebuked claims he was a health and safety risk, saying he was merely standing outside of his house.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “Police were called at around 10.35am on Thursday April 17 to Tivoli Road, Brighton, where some white lines were being painted.

“Contractors from the council had informed police about a member of the public getting too close to the work and refusing to move. The member of the public also phoned the police.

“A PCSO attended and spoke to everyone involved. It is understood the contractors were able to carry on with their work.”

Police were called to the road again on Saturday as Mr Leir confronted workmen again who were working over the bank holiday weekend.

Residents of the road have been left frustrated with the parking scheme saying they received no prior warning before work started and that the parking markers have been painted incorrectly – not matching surveyor marks.