Parking meters in Brighton and Hove do not accept new 5p and 10p coins – because officials have not bothered telling the devices to take them.

Just 50 parking meters in the city accept card payments, meaning motorists have to carry up to £20 in change in their pockets to leave their vehicles in some areas.

But even after finding a mountain of silver with which to pay, the scores of council-run machines do not accept the most recently issued legal tender.

The Royal Mint introduced the new cheaper-to-produce coins at the start of the year in an attempt to save the taxpayer £8 million a year.

Although the new coins don’t look different, they are made of nickel-plated steel and are both 10% thicker – a difference of just 0.17 millimetres on the 5p.

A Treasury insider told The Argus that councils had been warned far in advance of the change and advised to re-calibrate their machines. He added: “There is really no excuse.”

Motoring lobbyist Steve Percy added: “If the council is going to charge sky-high rates then they should be reinvesting money in the service.

“They make it far too hard for drivers to pay. If you don’t have the correct change then you have no option but to put even more in and their machines don’t give out change. It’s madness.”

Adam Chinery, the owner of Brighton Watersports in Kings Road Arches, has spoken out against the council’s parking charge policy in the past. He said: “How many other ways does the council want to turn away business in Brighton?”

Solicitor David Richards, who specialises in motoring law, said that council parking rules tended to be very technical, making them hard to argue against.

He added: “As a result there is no straightforward way in which to appeal a fine for not having the right coins.

“However, it is possible that the parking adjudicator will decide in the motorist’s favour on the grounds of fairness.”

A council spokesman said: “Our parking machines do not accept the new 5p and 10p coins.

“We took this into account when setting the new tariffs we’ve brought in, with the result that all our tariffs can now be paid without having to use the new coins.

“We have put notices on all our machines asking people not to use the new coins, and we will be replacing the redundant coin slots as and when individual machines need servicing.

“We’re also looking to make things easier for residents by introducing more cashless payment options for parking, such as by card or by phone, over the next year or so.”