You may have noticed the works that took place in Croham Valley Road at the start of the month.

Temporary traffic lights and a row of cones had been set up by Thames Water to carry out repairs to a leaking service pipe.

Despite the blockage "inconveniencing thousands" of motorists from November 1 to November 6, no work was ever carried out.

That is because Thames Water never had permission to carry out the works in the first place.

One man annoyed to discover the blunder was Charles Humphreys.

"These traffic lights have caused considerable delays to traffic for over a week – and for absolutely no reason at all," he said.

"One morning I was caught up in a traffic jam for over 20 minutes, which nearly went back to the cross roads in Selsdon, nearly one mile away.

"This caused me to miss a start to an important meeting. You can do the maths of how many people have been inconvenienced during this time, certainly running into the thousands."

So why did Thames Water set up for repairs, despite not being allowed to?

A spokesman put it down to a "breakdown in communication."

"Thames Water Repair & Maintenance submitted a Streetworks permit to LB Croydon for works on Croham Valley Road starting November 1," he said.

"These works were to repair a leaking service pipe.

"However the permit was refused by LB Croydon and as such the work was aborted.

"Unfortunately an internal breakdown in communication meant that the traffic management provider was not made aware of the cancellation of works and as such continued to set up the traffic management as planned, resulting in a site established with no work carried out.

"As soon as we were made aware of the mistake on November 6, the traffic management was removed.

"We apologise for any inconvenience cause."

Thames Water can now expect to pay for its lack of communication.

A Croydon Council spokesman said: “The council instructed Thames Water to remove the temporary signals after learning their scheduled works were not authorised by the council.

"A fixed penalty notice has been issued to Thames Water for failing to seek authorisation prior to starting works.”