Man's BMW Misidentified and Destroyed by Government While He’s in Surgery

The Flintshire council agreed to reimburse him for all some of the cost.

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A Great Britain man’s BMW 323 was incorrectly designated as abandoned in a hospital lot by the Flintshire, Wales city council as he was having ankle surgery. The car was subsequently seized and destroyed, according to the BBC. The city council agreed to pay the owner a nonimal amount for the nuisance it caused.

When Mr. G returned to his house in Flintshire from a three-day stint at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for ankle surgery in Nov. 2016, his car was gone. The vehicle had been declared as being off the road and parked outside of its registered address. He then reported it missing to the local police, with officers investigating the matter and quickly realizing what had happened. 

An inspector’s report found no evidence that the Flintshire council even attempted to locate the vehicle’s owner before taking action, which the owner himself described as “utter ineptitude.” 

Chief officer for Streetscene and Transportation at the Flintshire council, Steve Jones, said it accepted the report’s findings, and would, as a result of this destructive mistake, pay the owner $3,612 (2,750 pounds) for demolishing his car and the time it took to settle the matter. 

The owner, known only as Mr. G, paid $18,415 (14,000 pounds) for the BMW 323 in 2004. He also spent $3,282 (2,500 pounds) on a new engine and brake system. All in all, his reimbursement covers little beyond the engine and brake system additions. 

While a council officer claimed that a search of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (the U.K.'s equivalent of the DMV) could not identify who the vehicle was registered to, the inspector’s report said there’s not a single bit of evidence such a search ever occurred. Additionally, the DVLA was unable to prove it had issued a notice of its intent to remove the car to the landowner before doing so. 

“I was utterly horrified and so confused because I couldn’t understand why they took away a vehicle that was registered to me at my address,” said Mr. G. He added that after the council’s insurers refused to pay him, the DVLA “shut up shop and denied responsibility.” Mr. G also said he had about $2,626 (2,000 pounds) worth of tools in his trunk, which were crushed together with his vehicle. 

“This is as classic a case of maladministration as I have witnessed in four years of office,” said Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett. 

Fortunately for the rest of Wales, Jones said preventative measures have been instated for an incident like this to become an anomaly. “Officers have conducted a full review of the processes for dealing with abandoned vehicles, and measures are now in place to prevent reoccurrence,” said Bennett. 

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