Neighbours banned from trimming back their trees are missing out on bin collections - because dustcarts are being dented by overhanging branches.

Managers at CityClean stopped their new bin lorries from visiting The Vale in Ovingdean after bodywork was scraped and damaged.

Flashing warning lights on the vehicles have also been smashed.

But residents of the street, which is part public and part privately owned, were angry to get a letter from the firm telling them they must lop the branches before normal collections resume.

Just two years ago Brighton and Hove City Council warned them AGAINST cutting back trees and placed preservation orders on them after complaints of unauthorised pruning.

Resident Sue Ancell and her husband Colin think it's a farce.

Mrs Ancell said: "One moment the council is warning us about not cutting down trees and the next it's saying we can't have our bins collected because overhanging branches are damaging the dustcarts.

"If we are not allowed to arrange for trees to be cut down, then the simple thing is for our bins to be collected by a smaller dustcart. We have even offered to take our rubbish to the end of the road before our normal Thursday collection day but we've been told the council will not collect from there."

Part of the street is under council ownership, while the rest is owned by a resident who charges £3 a year for its upkeep.

Mrs Ancell said: "The trees in the public section of the road are the responsibility of the council."

Her husband said: "I have had a council tree expert in my garden telling me which of the trees I can and can't cut down."

Rottingdean councillor Lynda Hyde said: "Surely this matter can be resolved by cutting down the offending branches or using a smaller dustcart for The Vale. I was able to arrange for an emergency collection the week before last but this matter needs to be resolved."

A council spokesman said: "There has been a problem with big overhanging branches damaging our vehicles. Our tree specialists have now had a number of branches removed or trimmed back. We hope this has tackled the problem and residents should have their rubbish picked up as normal."

He said the council did not own the trees but added some of the overhanging branches were from trees which had preservation orders on them.