Mr G complained to the Ombudsman about the manner in which Flintshire County Council (“the Council”) had authorised the removal and destruction of his vehicle, which he had parked in a parking bay outside his flat. Mr G said that the vehicle, which he was restoring, was removed without notice and destroyed and that the tools and equipment contained within the vehicle were also destroyed.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that, whilst a Council officer said that a search of the DVLA’s vehicle database did not identify the vehicle’s registered keeper, there was no evidence of such a search having been logged. The Council was also unable to provide the Ombudsman with evidence that it had issued a statutory notice informing the landowner of its intention to remove the vehicle. The Council was unable to say when the statutory notice had been issued and the landowner confirmed he had not received the statutory notice. 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 Ombudsman upheld the complaint since there was insufficient evidence that the Council had taken appropriate action to establish that Mr G’s vehicle had been abandoned and the Council had failed to follow the correct statutory procedure when issuing a statutory notice of its intention to remove and dispose of Mr G’s vehicle.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and recommended that the Council:
The Ombudsman also recommended that the Council should review and amend procedures within its service, to ensure that appropriate records are created and that documentation is retained for all activity relating to the removal and disposal of vehicles under the relevant statutory regulations.