Wandsworth Car Towing Thieves

We’re all used to complicated parking regulations in London, with the evil, vulture-like councils seizing every opportunity to issue us with fines (a topic I believe has already been extensively ranted about on the site).

As such I very thoroughly scoured a Wandsworth parking area for restrictions recently when I was out with my mates Chris and Rob. Then, having assured ourselves that there were none, we parked and confidently headed into the pub.

An hour later we emerged.

‘Um…where’s your car?’

It’s not what you really need when you’re hungover on a Saturday, having just limped out of The Ship after a restorative lunch, still feeling delicate and looking forward to curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea.

‘God…it definitely was here that we parked, wasn’t it?’

Oh, it really was. But that didn’t stop the three of us from staring bewilderingly at the now empty space where Chris’s BMW had sat.

‘It’s happened at last,’ Chris declared gloomily. ‘Someone’s nicked it. It had to happen at some point, but did it have to be now?’

We stared some more, and I looked around. ‘It can’t have been stolen. It’s broad daylight, and it was in front of a really popular pub with three cameras pointed at it.’

Chris shrugged. ‘It’s old. It would be pretty easy.’

‘Could it have been towed?’ Rob suggested.

‘There are no “Don’t park here, or we’ll tow your car” signs,’ I pointed out.

‘But there are no parking signs at all,’ Rob added.

We all trooped back into the pub, and Chris asked the bar staff if cars that parked around the pub ever got towed. They admitted that tickets got freely handed out in the area. Finally one of the managers came out with a very sorrowful look on his face. Yes, he’d seen the car being towed. No, it didn’t happen very often. But he’d had his own car towed before, and he very kindly gave us the number to call, listed on his phone under ‘Car Pound Cunts’.

Chris spent the next half hour on the phone, walking behind us back to our flat. Occasionally we heard his incredulous tones floating towards us: ‘Yeah, it was a drop kerb, but it was just for pedestrians, it wasn’t a drive or anything…there was no obstruction…’

It turned out that it was a private company who had picked his car up, and despite the fact that there were no parking restrictions and we’d only been in the pub an hour, they were not only allowed to slap a ticket on the car, wait five minutes then tow it, but they were endorsed by the council. What the fuck?

So how do you get your car back in this situation? Well, you rock up to the compound with £260 – that’s £200 for the release of the car and £60 for the ticket – and you must provide your driving license, proof of address and (most importantly) your registration document. If your reg doc is at home in deepest Essex (as it was in Chris’s case), then too bad. Oh, and you must manage this within 48 hours, unless you want to start paying for storage.

Again, what the fuck? No signs, no warnings of any kind, no rules on appropriate timing. Nothing. And the government fully backs these thieving arseholes?

Just to add a little extra fun, the tow truckers actually damaged Chris’s car in the process – but of course that was his own fault for leaving it there in the first place. Obviously.

I’m still furious over this outrageous affair, but just in case you find yourself in a similar predicament, you have 28 days to appeal. I strongly suggest you do.

Image by Abulic Monkey courtesy of Flickr

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7 Responses

  1. Sophie Monks Kaufman
    Sophie Monks Kaufman

    Outrageous. Definately get Chris to write a strongly worded letter to the Council and the local newspaper for Wandsworth (The Wandsworth Guardian is one). The power of complaining can yield surprising results. I had a friend who was a pro at getting people out of parking tickets.

  2. Elvin

    I was in such a situation again yesterday. Had checked that there are no parking restrictions before parking my car and returned to find my car gone. It’s unbelievable that after nearly a year, the council still have not put up any signs if cars are not allowed to park there. I wonder how many cars were impounded because of this. Its really unacceptable, but i’m not sure what else i could do apart from appealing to the council.

  3. Elvin

    That particular spot where Chris and my car was impounded, it had a single yellow line, which i believe allows vehicles to be parked during weekends. If parking is not allowed there, should’nt that little dropped kerb have a double yellow line? Having a single yellow line and no parking signs at all is just misleading and only serves to benefit the Car tow thieves.

  4. Emma Mills

    I think the name under which the barman had saved the Pound’s number really says it all. Parking in London is something that drives me to distraction; in fact it is about the only thing that can make me cry, on the spot, instantly. It’s the sheer feeling of unhelplessness and a knowledge you’ve just handed out a whole wad of cash for literally nothing. (INSERT numerous expletives).

  5. Elvin

    I wrote in to the council to protest the single yellow line and absence of signs are very misleading, but they replied saying they have every right to impound my vehicle according to clause so and so of the law. But they send someone down to paint double yellow line over that spot few days later. Such an irony..
    At least people will be clear in future.

  6. ddebnam

    hi just had a nice day out in london to see a show for my boy 8 birthday ,, came back to the car ,, o it was gorn thought it was stolen ,,no it had been towed away, again that drop kerb. no signs , didnt even know you shouldnt park near one ,, parked by the station west silvertown, o what joy stuck in london with my 8 year old ,, how can they take your car and not give it back untill you pay them 250.00 , they should give it back and take you to court for the money at least you can get home ,,, what a bunch of ccccc ,o they was so helpfull at the compound , let me into my car to get profe of id ,,hello how stupid r they ,, i have the keys !!! one birthday i wont for get !!!!scum!!!i hate them ,i feel like i have been robbed !! hope you who work at the compound rot in hell!!!!!

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