The locks to a popular beach car park have been changed after dozens of cars were left submerged by the high tide.

A gate carrying a sign warning drivers not to leave their vehicles at the site because of the high tide was left open, thereby obscuring the warning.

Dozes of cars were ruined when the waters, at Talacre in North Wales, rose earlier this month.

The beach is hugely popular with day-trippers from the Chester area.

Owners ENI Liverpool Bay Operating Company Limited (ELBOC) denied being to blame over and have now changed the locks – leaving Flintshire County Council without a key.

Council chiefs claim that for several years an informal arrangement had been in place where the authority had keys to allow access to the car park so they could empty bins.

Steve Jones, the council’s chief officer Streetscene and Transportation, said: “The gate and car park in Talacre are owned by ENI Liverpool Bay Operating Company Limited and the county council has no role or responsibility for permitting vehicle access to the site by others.

“An informal arrangement has been in place for many years between the council and ENI whereby the council have keys to open the gate to allow access the beach to carry out cleansing duties and in order to empty the litter bins in the area.

“The lock on the gate has now been changed and the council have no longer been provided with keys.”

It comes as ENI have re-opened the beach car park – after a plea from county councillor Glyn Banks in the lead-up to the bank holiday.

Community councillor John Thompson said he is 'delighted'.

He said: “The bank holiday will be one of the busiest weekends of the year, so I’m delighted to hear the car park will be open for visitors.

“When the car park was closed following the incident it was chaos with one resident having his wall demolished when a car backed into it and many others were inconvenienced with some unable to leave their homes because of how people had parked.”

The car park had been closed for more than two weeks, while ENI investigated how the gate came to be unlocked.

A spokeswoman for the company said: "Our investigation has concluded that neither ELBOC nor its staff left the barrier open during the high tide event on May 8 and neither ELBOC nor its staff gave instruction or permission for the barrier to be left open during the high tide event on May 8.”

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