Dozens of drivers are furious at being stung with hefty fines after roadworks forced them into a bus lane.

Southern Water engineering works on the busy A259 coast road in Saltdean meant cars were diverted into the bus lane heading west, which is strictly enforced by cameras capturing violations from all angles.

Motorists realised there was an issue when they received letters demanding they pay fines for driving in the bus lane.

The Argus: Marine Drive, where the roadworks wereMarine Drive, where the roadworks were (Image: Google)

Railway worker Pete Shewell, who lives in Newhaven, was among those caught out.

"I was absolutely gobsmacked," he said. "It's been bred into me to follow the rules. I'm an ex copper.

"They forced you to go into the bus lane through the roadworks and then you get a fine for it.

"They should have a duty to get you out of that bus lane, put some cones down to take you back onto the road."

Pete said it was only when his wife, Carol, looked at the fine and noticed the dates that they realised why he had received it.

Southern Water was working on the road between March 5 and 7 on the way out of Saltdean towards Brighton.

Hundreds of drivers use that stretch of the road each hour, especially during rush hour.

Another driver, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Argus: "We are just motorists following instructions. You are doing as you're told.

"For this to result in a fine is ludicrous. I drive down this road every day. I know about the bus lane, I would never drive in it so it is appalling that they are trying to fine us. It feels like they are taking advantage."

Dozens more took to social media to report similar issues.

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Brighton and Hove City Council said it is "reviewing the circumstances" surrounding the fines to ensure they were issued correctly.

But driver Rita, who did not wish to give her last name, said this was not good enough.

"I think the council should be fined," she said.

"Hundreds of people have likely got these fines just for following the rules.

"I was a taxi driver for 30 years in Brighton, I am fully aware of the difference between bus lanes and car lanes.

"But you had no option. The road was dug up. They had a diversion sign. You had to move on to the bus lane."

The Argus asked Brighton and Hove City Council whether it would revoke the penalties.

A spokesman said: "We’re aware of the concerns expressed by a number of residents about penalty charge notices issued during the emergency works carried out by Southern Water on Marine Parade, Saltdean, on 5-6 March.

“We are reviewing the circumstances behind these in order to make sure the notices were issued correctly.” 

The fine is £70 unless paid within 14 days in which case it is £35.

The Argus understands some drivers have already paid the fine out of fear after receiving the letter or because they cannot afford to lose an appeal and pay £70.