Four cars were wrecked and a listed building was severely damaged after a bizarre accident yesterday.

An investigation has been launched by police into how the driver of a Seat Alhambra travelling north on the A23 at Patcham lost control of his car, veered across to the other side of the road, hit a pelican crossing and ploughed into a parked Fiat Multipla.

The force of the impact sent the Multipla crashing into a Renault Megane before it ended up in the side of the Elizabethan Cottage Tandoori in Old London Road.

The Seat came to a stop after crashing into a parked Ford Mondeo.

The driver escaped with only minor injuries and was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton as a precaution.

Multipla owner Robin Smith, 66, said his £4,500 car was a write-off.

He said: “I had only parked there to go into the bakery to get some bread so I could make toast for breakfast.

“I heard a bang but didn't really register at first. When I came out and saw what had happened it was a shock.

“It s not the best start to a Sunday I've ever had. It's left me feeling a bit shaken but thankfully nobody was badly hurt.”

Restaurant owner Golam Ahmed said it would be some time before the repairs could be done to the 15th century building but it would still be business as usual.

He said: “We have different sections of the restaurant so we have managed to board up and shut off the damaged area and continue to keep the restaurant open as normal.

“It is pretty badly damaged and it will be a while before the repairs are done because it is such an old building.

“Conservation experts will have to be called in to take a look as well.

“At least nobody was badly hurt. It could have been a lot worse. I think the bill could end up running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The accident happened at around 8.45am yesterday and was cleared by 11.25am.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said officers were investigating the incident.