FURIOUS residents say they have been left prisoners in their own homes after the lift in their flats was suddenly closed by workmen.

Problems started before Christmas when there was a strange smell at Sea House in Whiterock Place, Southwick.

Workmen were called and shut the lift without warning on Christmas Eve.

One woman said she had to call the fire brigade to rescue her disabled friend who was left stranded.

A single mother said she was so fed up that she has moved out.

The residents accused Adur District Council of failing to provide enough information about repairs.

But the authority said it had to deal with the problem after the reports of a burning smell.

The single mother, who has a one-year-old and a two-year-old, said the issue was now so bad she has had to move out of the block.

She said: “My child fell down the stairs the other day, it really scared me. I was having to take them up and down every day.

“So I’ve gone to stay with a friend. We haven’t been able to live here for more than a week.”

Another resident said her husband was wheelchair bound after suffering a stroke before Christmas.

He has not been able to leave the house since.

She said: “We are trapped upstairs, we can’t get out. I had a friend over at Christmas who is also disabled and they closed the lift suddenly.

“It meant she couldn’t get downstairs so we had to call the fire brigade out and they used a hoist to take her down.”

Lisa Kirkham-Ovett has called on the council to take action swiftly but fears it could be the end of January before the lift is fixed.

She said: “The contractor came out and switched off the lift, left a notice on the door, then left.

“It was Christmas and residents had friends and family visiting. We made numerous phone calls and were told it would take weeks just for someone to come and have a look.

“I think it’s disgusting. The workman came out and just looked at it and left. We were told there is an out-of-hours emergency service but apparently we are not an emergency. It’s just dreadful.”

A spokesman for Adur District Council said: “We received a complaint about the lift at Sea House in Southwick just before Christmas when a burning smell was reported to be coming from the elevator.

“Our contractors attended immediately and decided in the interests of safety to take the lift out of service until further tests could be done.

“A further visit to the building confirmed the lift motor needs replacing.

“Due to the specialist nature of this work, we anticipate the lift will be out of action for between seven days and three weeks.

“We recognise there will be some ongoing inconvenience to residents which is regrettable.

“Adur Homes will ensure all residents are updated of the work and assure them that our teams are working hard to get the problem fixed as soon as possible.”