Pay up to get your car back

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AN OAP has been left out of pocket after vandals trashed his car - and he had to pay to get it back.

As well as having to stump up to replace two smashed windows, Springfield’s Brian Sutcliffe is fuming that he was forced to pay £310 for his car to be released after it was impounded by police.

A number of cars were targeted in Springfield, South Queensferry, in the early hours of Saturday, June 4, but it was Brian’s vehicle, a 1993 Vauxhall Cavalier, which suffered the most damage.

He had fallen asleep just minutes prior to the incident at around 2.30am, and missed a phone call to his house from the authorities.

The following morning he found a police note through his letter box to say they attended an incident and for security reasons had removed his vehicle. Mr Sutcliffe was shocked to find it had been uplifted to a garage in Edinburgh and that he had to pay £150 initial costs and £160 for pick up charges.

He also received a letter from Lothian and Border Police saying he was liable to pay the £310 to retrieve his property or could face double the costs or his car being scrapped and charged £175 for doing so. He says he was told the vehicle had to be removed because it was insecure and unsafe.

Mr Sutcliffe (70), who is housebound and suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and relies on a continuous oxygen supply 24 hours to get him through the day, said this week: “The vehicle is of little value and it has cost more to have it released from the pound. The repairs to the windows are also additional, so it has proved a costly vandalism.

“But what concerns me more is the attitude of the police, I am disgusted to say the least, what they did was nothing more than legalised theft. All they said was try to claim it back through your insurance.”

But a police spokesman said: “When a vehicle is found in a vulnerable state we have a duty of care to prevent further damage, and on this occasion we are satisfied that our procedures were carried out correctly.

“We made a reasonable effort to try and contact the owner, without success.

‘‘Following this we secured the car and ensured it was uplifted by the recovery vehicle. This meant the contractor was entitled to a fee. If the person is suffic- iently insured they can recover the cost from their insurance as a victim of crime.”