A man has been awarded compensation from Flintshire council after they wrongly scrapped his BMW while he was in hospital.
Officers incorrectly classed the vehicle as abandoned and arranged to have the car destroyed when it was left in a parking bay outside the man’s flat.
An ombudsman investigation found no evidence that the council had attempted to search the DVLA’s vehicle database to identify the owner before removing the car.
There was also no evidence that the authority had issued a statutory notice informing the private landowner of its intention to remove the vehicle before doing so.
A report by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, described how the vehicle owner, referred to as Mr G, returned to his flat after a three day stay in hospital having 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 it.
It emerged that Mr G was told by the council and the car dismantler that the vehicle had been destroyed, when in fact, it wasn’t until two weeks later.
The car contained tools and equipment worth hundreds of pounds and Flintshire has now agreed to pay £2,500 for the loss of the car and its contents.
Mr G was also awarded a further £250 for his time and trouble in having to pursue the council for an explaination of what had happened.
Ombudsman, 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.”
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.
Steve Jones, chief officer streetscene and transportation at Flintshire council said: “Following the incident that took place in 2016, the council has accepted, and will act on, the findings and recommendations outlined in the ombudsman’s report.
“Officers have conducted a full review of the processes for dealing with abandoned vehicles, and measures are now in place to prevent re-occurrence.”
Source : DailyPost