A MAN has described his frustration after a man hole cover caused £3,500 worth of damage to his car.

Mark Rice was driving home from work last week when he was forced to take a diversion from his usual route.

The 51-year-old, of Hobleythick Lane, Southend, said: "I usually go down Bridgwater Drive, Southend, but because of road works I had to go down Somerset Avenue. Just as I drove over a man hole cover in the road, it flipped up, hit my car and flew onto the pavement. It made a really loud noise and I thought the cover had hit my car and gone back down - I had no idea it had flown up as far as it did.

"I initially drove home but as soon as I saw the damage to my car, I went straight back to where it happened.

"Luckily, a man who had seen it happen was still there and showed me the cover had landed about 20ft away from the hole.

"The cover has ripped through the seal that goes under both doors and the garage have said they won't be able to straighten the rear door where the panel is bent so they have to fit a new one."

Mr Rice, who works as a systems analyst, said he has been given a quote for £3,500 to fix the damage.

"The council say it can take up to three months to investigate. After I told them, they went and painted a blue line around it which clearly indicates it needs repairing but nothing has been done yet.

"My car is drivable - it's just a question of who is going to pay for this. It's frustrating I have to go through this lengthy and complicated process."

Southend Council confirmed they were aware of the incident and are investigating.

James Courtenay, deputy leader of the council, said: “We are currently investigating a claim that has been made by an individual whose car was damaged on Somerset Avenue. We have informed Essex and Suffolk water so that they can replace the faulty water main cover.

“Whilst the claim is being investigated, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”