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North Wales Council Mistakenly Destroys Car After Driver Hospital Stay

A North Wales driver returned home from hospital to find his car had been wrongly classified as abandoned and destroyed, an Ombudsman investigation has found.

Mr G had returned to his flat after a three day stay in hospital where he had undergone surgery. On arrival he realised his BMW, which he was restoring and had been declared as being off the road, was missing. After reporting it to the police, he was told that Flintshire council had removed the vehicle.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found no evidence that the Council had attempted to search the DVLA’s vehicle database to identify the owner before removing it, or any evidence that it had issued a statutory notice informing the landowner of its intention to remove the vehicle before doing so.

Finally, the investigation found that, following the removal of the vehicle, Mr G was told by the Council and the car dismantler that the vehicle had been destroyed, although it was not destroyed until two weeks later.

The vehicle contained tools and equipment worth many hundreds of pounds and the council has agreed to provide the complainant with redress of £2,500 for the loss of his car and its contents.

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, said:

“I was astounded by the sequence of events that led to the complainant having his car destroyed and clearly in this case the council has failed him.

“This is as classic a case of maladministration as I have witnessed in four years of office. It adds insult to injury for Mr G that the car contained tools he was using to restore his cherished BMW, and I am pleased the council will at least provide redress to cover the costs of this.”