Islington Council’s letter error led to car being towed away
PUBLISHED: 08:59 26 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:57 26 July 2013
When a man came home from a night out to find his car missing he made a shocked call to police – only to find the vehicle had been towed away by Islington Council baliffs for an offence he knew nothing about.
Michael Edwards, 29, had to stump up more than £1,000 to get his Ford Ka back after the town hall impounded it due to an unpaid Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) – but Mr Edwards had no chance to pay because it was sent to the wrong address.
Back in October, his car was allegedly seen making an illegal right turn in Hornsey Road, Upper Holloway and the council sent letters to Mr Edwards in October, December and February.
But when it didn’t hear anything, instead of checking its records it handed the matter over to a debt collection company which did manage to find the correct address and towed Mr Edwards’ car away.
He said: “When I saw my car had gone I obviously thought it had been stolen, but when I called the police they told me bailiffs had it – something to do with Islington Council.
“Eventually I got through to someone, but they didn’t want anything to do with it and told me to deal with the bailiffs.
“In the end it cost me £1,050 to get my car back – I had to refinance a loan to get the money.
“It’s disgraceful. It’s like they just couldn’t be bothered to find out where I lived – until it came to taking my car.”
To add insult to injury Mr Edwards, who lives in Willesden Green, says the ticket may even have been issued in error in the first place.
He said: “There is nothing on the CCTV to show it’s an illegal turn. Surely they should return the money, or not have made me pay in the first place, while this is ongoing?
“They have behaved very badly and have been massively incompetent. They got my address wrong, sent the wrong ticket and it may not be an offence in the first place. It’s ludicrous.
“It’s my only dealing with Islington Council and they have not left a good impression.”
The incident is the latest in a long line of controversies involving Islington Council’s traffic and parking services team – in April it agreed to refund up to £1million collected at a troubled width restriction in Drayton Park, Highbury and it could potentially face a high court battle over the wording of all PCNs issued since 2008.A council spokesman said it was a driver’s responsibility to update their address with the DVLA, which hadn’t happened in this case.
She added: “When bailiffs were instructed and they identified Mr Edwards’ new address, they wrote to him twice there and made three visits. But no response was received.”
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