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Vehicle on axle stands towed away while on holiday on a public road. location: CARDIFF
bruceyp
post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 09:16
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Good Morning

I really hope someone can help me with this issue. I have seen one similar situation to this posted here but the poster did not update (http://forums.pepipoo.com/lofiversion/index.php/t50050.html)

I arrived home night before last after a weeks holiday to find that a vehicle I own that I had been doing repair work on, located on the road outside my house had been taken. As I understand I am legally allowed to perform repair work o a vehicle as long it is not for profit/ for other people etc. (http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/legResults.as...amp;SortAlpha=0)

My initial thought was it had been stolen as the only notification I had was a business card of a PCSO that had a message to call them immediately. After ringing around the police and council this morning I discover that the council had had the vehicle towed away under section 149 highways act as they deemed it unsafe. The vehicle had been left with both front wheels and the axle removed but resting securely on axle stands. It was not an obstruction they felt that merely being on axle stands was unsafe enough.

As I was on holiday the attempts to knock on my door and contact me at the start of the week failed and the vehicle was towed away. Mechanics from a garage a few doors down were present and demonstrated the vehicle was stable and offered to tow the vehicle themselves but were told they could not touch the vehicle. The tow vehicle used to lift the vehicle onto the flatbed was not suitable and the straps may have damaged the doors. The recovery driver openly admitted to the mechanics that they were using the wrong recovery kit to move the vehicle, and that they could go back to get appropriate equipment, but the council insisted the vehicle had to be moved then and there.

I'm being told that I will have to pay in excess of £800 to cover the cost of recovery storage, council admin fees and the re delivery of the vehicle. (they are not allowing me to put the wheels back where it is being held)


I feel aggrieved because:

1) I have not been contacted to help rectify the situation being away on holiday. This is not being taken into consideration with regard to any form of mitigation.
2) I've been given no paperwork or notice of how to pay or appeal or who is responsible for any damage to the vehicle from towing. The only information I have has been collected over the phone.
3) They are not explaining how they deemed the vehicle to be unsafe despite the local garage owners protesting the vehicle was stable and demonstrating by rocking the vehicle
4) The vehicle has been removed from the axle stands and is now at the impound resting on the engine which i am concerned will stress and damage the vehicle.
5) I'm being told an invoice can not be raised till Thursday due to council employees leave arrangements and yet I am liable for the continued storage cost per day of the vehicle.
6) I have been informed that a local resident took exception (although they had not said a word to me) to the vehicle being left on axle stands and got a local councillor to report the matter. I feel that pressure has been unfairly applied in my case for the council to remove the vehicle.
7) If they felt the vehicle was insecure was there not a better way to have the vehicle secured. Why was towing the only option?


I am currently unemployed and was working on the vehicle (a pick up truck) to get it usable so I can use it for work. I'm absolutely heart broken as I put my soul into restoring this truck so I can get working again and to have it removed and damaged is soul destroying. Paying these fees will almost certainly cause me financial hardship. Surely they cant just remove my vehicle without issuing any notice, or paperwork, appeals process or proper invoicing of the fees?


Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks




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post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 09:16
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cp8759
post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 11:06
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Do you have any paperwork? If so, show us.

My main concern is that there doesn't seem to be any remedy under section 149 short of going to court, but it may well be that that is what you have to do.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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bruceyp
post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 13:12
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No, I have been given nothing. as i say the only notification I had was a business card from a PCSO posted through the door who had called round to find me. The business card read 'call me urgently regarding (model make and reg of my vehicle).'

From what my neighbour was told by the recovery driver, if they could have contacted me by phone and I could have stated that the vehicle would be removed when I got back then they would have left it. It feels like i'm a victim of an unusual situation, where the council have had limited process to fall back on so proceeded to the nuclear option of craning the vehicle onto a flatbed as if it were scrap. No logical test has been applied to the safety of the vehicle or expert advice.

As and when I receive anything I will post. I've requested documents on their procedure, process and appeals but am being told they have nothing to give me. As you say i fear this may have to go to court but i'm not sure how to go about that without ploughing money in.
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nosferatu1001
post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 13:39
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Youre almost certainly not able to go further without some money going in

Youd have to be able to confirm yourself that the removal was unlawful in some way - not the damage caused, if any, but the actual "tow" - otherwise I fail to see how youre going to prevail.
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Formfeed
post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 13:41
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2) lets see the damage first before worrying about that, you obfuscate the original scenario by talking about damage which may or may not be present.

3) its an opinion, which you can contest.

4) see 2.

6) which has nothing to do with whether or not it has been unfairly moved. You can either make that case, or you can't.

7) because that's what they do.

This post has been edited by Formfeed: Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 20:39


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hcandersen
post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 13:48
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OP, your account is unclear as to what you know first-hand and what you understand by perhaps hearing second-hand opinions/views.

In any event, this case falls outside the parameters of this forum's remit?

Assuming s149 has been misused, you would need to recover your vehicle and then take matters from there.

The council have to establish that they acted lawfully. This would entail presenting their reasoning as to why the notice requirements of s149 were not complied with. IMO, s149 is about 'deposits' on the highway, not vehicles - vehicles are not deposited.

Once you recover your vehicle I suggest you write to the Director of Highways for whichever council you fall under and demand the return of your money failing which you require them to establish:
Why the no notice exception under s149 was deemed appropriate;
Was the officer who authorised the removal empowered to do so under the council's Officer Scheme of Delegation and to produce evidence to this effect;
How the total charge of £*** was calculated and unless specified under legislation the council's report approving the elemental charges.

PM me if you wish, but this is not for this specific forum and I'll ask a moderator to deal with matters.
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bruceyp
post Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 18:26
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Thank you all for the valuable input. I will proceed as described.
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cp8759
post Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 10:23
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QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 14:48) *
Assuming s149 has been misused, you would need to recover your vehicle and then take matters from there.

The forum's remit is "Helping the motorist get justice", it says it right at the top. I don't see how anyone can say this falls outside of the forum's remit. The forum's remit has nothing to do with the regulations that any one member (or even all of the members) happen to be most familiar with.

That being said, I agree with the proposed approach, with the fallback position being a civil claim for tortious interference with goods, should all else fail. But I can't think of any reason why this should be dealt with "off-forum".

This post has been edited by cp8759: Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 10:26


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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Fredd
post Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 10:31
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 11:23) *
The forum's remit is "Helping the motorist get justice", it says it right at the top. I don't see how anyone can say this falls outside of the forum's remit. The forum's remit has nothing to do with the regulations that any one member (or even all of the members) happen to be most familiar with.

I agree; what I assume HCA meant by "this forum" was the Council Parking section where this was originally posted.


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PASTMYBEST
post Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 10:51
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 11:23) *
QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 14:48) *
Assuming s149 has been misused, you would need to recover your vehicle and then take matters from there.

The forum's remit is "Helping the motorist get justice", it says it right at the top. I don't see how anyone can say this falls outside of the forum's remit. The forum's remit has nothing to do with the regulations that any one member (or even all of the members) happen to be most familiar with.

That being said, I agree with the proposed approach, with the fallback position being a civil claim for tortious interference with goods, should all else fail. But I can't think of any reason why this should be dealt with "off-forum".


I too would prefer that members helped only on the forum for whilst helping one member they leave a legacy that can be of help to all. In this case however I think I know where HCA is coming from and understand why he is making the offer he has.

The issue for the OP is that the cost is going up every day and at a certain point, that may or may not have been reached yet the vehicle will be disposed of, and in the described condition crushing is the most likely method. so getting it back if first priority, Then is the time to let HCA use his knowledge and experience,

It would be nice to know the outcome of his labours and his summery, but helping the motorist would IMO be best served by letting an expert in local government use his skill in the manner he thinks best


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southpaw82
post Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 11:00
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QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 11:51) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 29 Aug 2019 - 11:23) *
QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 28 Aug 2019 - 14:48) *
Assuming s149 has been misused, you would need to recover your vehicle and then take matters from there.

The forum's remit is "Helping the motorist get justice", it says it right at the top. I don't see how anyone can say this falls outside of the forum's remit. The forum's remit has nothing to do with the regulations that any one member (or even all of the members) happen to be most familiar with.

That being said, I agree with the proposed approach, with the fallback position being a civil claim for tortious interference with goods, should all else fail. But I can't think of any reason why this should be dealt with "off-forum".


I too would prefer that members helped only on the forum for whilst helping one member they leave a legacy that can be of help to all. In this case however I think I know where HCA is coming from and understand why he is making the offer he has.

The issue for the OP is that the cost is going up every day and at a certain point, that may or may not have been reached yet the vehicle will be disposed of, and in the described condition crushing is the most likely method. so getting it back if first priority, Then is the time to let HCA use his knowledge and experience,

It would be nice to know the outcome of his labours and his summery, but helping the motorist would IMO be best served by letting an expert in local government use his skill in the manner he thinks best

It’s long been a habit (I won’t call it a rule) of this forum that advice is not given in private via PM. So far as I understand it, the reasons are so that the advice is subject to the “wisdom of the crowd” and, as you say, open to future reference. It’s entirely up to the OP whether he wants to deal with someone on a one to one and private basis, but that won’t be “PepiPoo advice”.


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Any comments made do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No lawyer/client relationship should be assumed nor should any duty of care be owed.
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bruceyp
post Fri, 30 Aug 2019 - 09:48
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To keep you updated. After an argument over the phone with an enforcement officer regarding having to pay 2 days extra storage fees to pick up my vehicle yesterday (I wanted to collect on Tuesday but no one in the council could provide an invoice) the officer asked me to pass the phone to the recovery firms receptionist. The receptionist then informed that I could take the vehicle and that I would be sent an invoice tomorrow. So I had the vehicle back yesterday without paying a penny (other than £150 to my recovery driver to get it back home). This seems highly unusual. Presumably they will have to take me to court now to recover the money?

Unfortunately the vehicle has been damaged due to being loaded, unloaded and stored without props or chocks to support the chassis without the front wheels. Suspension mounts on the chassis have been bent, paint scratched and bumper and doors dented. This is all damage caused by the councils recovery and not mine. My recovery driver took photos to prove this. From what I’ve read I will have to pursue this in the small claims court.

Apologies for posting this incorrectly, I followed what had been done by a similar post linked in my original post.

Many thanks for everyone’s views.

This post has been edited by bruceyp: Fri, 30 Aug 2019 - 09:54
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Formfeed
post Fri, 30 Aug 2019 - 13:20
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Small claim will cost you money to make, you might be better waiting for them to raise the claim and pay for it and you can enter your losses in response to that.

Or deal with whether the seizure was proper and once you've won that make your case for the damage.

No expert but I would handle the legality of the seizure first before lumping in your expenses, ideally you want to know the outcome of that before spending money trying to get some back.

Others may have a different view.

Although letting the car go for free may be progress? Who knows.


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jdh
post Fri, 30 Aug 2019 - 14:32
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Have recovery treated it as an abandoned vehicle and just dragged it away without any care instead of treating it as an obstruction recovery and doing it properly? Maybe that's why the release has been done without payment as there's been a cockup somewhere between council and contractor that no one wants to admit to.
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DancingDad
post Fri, 30 Aug 2019 - 14:39
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List the damage, photos, statement from your recovery driver, get all your ducks in a row then hold fire.
I suspect that the council have realised that they have mucked up and that they will not invoice.
If they do, you have your counterclaim ready to send plus challenging them to show that the removal was legal and reasonable.
If they don't, then you have your claim plus that they have failed to provide anything to justify the removal.
To me, how you deal with it depends on council's next action but preserve your evidence and marshal arguments ready for it.
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cp8759
post Sun, 15 Sep 2019 - 20:00
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Letting the car go for free is a compelling indication of a massive cock-up.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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