A MINI has been left stranded after the owner of a Benfleet car park got tough with motorists.

The car has been barricaded into the former Focus store car park, in Tarpots, after the landowner used giant concrete slabs to stop drivers fromusing the site.

The main entrance to the car park, off Rushbottom Lane, has been gated off for the past eight days, following the closure of the DIY store because of financial difficulties.

However, motorists were still able to getting it by using an adjoining service road.

But that has now been blocked off by concrete slabs – with the red Mini on the wrong side.

Steven James, who lives in Rushbottom Lane, said: “The blocks appeared over the weekend.

“I feel sorry for the owner of the car. What if they’ve got to go somewhere in a rush?”

The car park’s closure has angered nearby traders in the London Road parade of shops.

They fear their business will suffer because it was one of the largest car parks in the area.

They are also worried more people will leave their cars in the service road behind their shops, which will disrupt deliveries.

Some traders believe the car park was originally granted planning permission by Castle Point Council on the provision all shoppers would be able to use it, not just those visiting the Focus store.

Joe Cooke, former Labour councillor for the ward, said a solution would be needed to be found quickly.

He added: “It’s such a depressing situation and I share the disappointment of all traders in the area.

“The council needs to be pushing hard on this, because if it’s supposed to be open, something needs to be done.”

A spokeswoman for Castle Point Council said there was no obligation on the landowner to keep the car park open.

She added: “The landowner has taken action to secure the property. However, we are still in talks about the possibility of reopening the main entrance for shoppers.”