Fined! Tourist whose broken car was blown up


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The Independent Online

A tourist who left his car parked near the House of Commons came back to find it had been blown up by anti-terror police and issued with a parking ticket.

Nima Hosseini Razi's car broke down while driving through London and after calling the AA decided to nip off to look at Buckingham Palace.

He left a note on the windscreen explaining the car had broken down, but when he returned he found that anti-terror police, fearing it might have been a car bomb, had blown the boot open in a controlled explosion. To add insult to expensive injury, a parking attendant stuck a ticket on the windscreen before the battered vehicle could be towed away.

His mistake, he realised belatedly, had been to break down in Storey's Gate in central London, outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre and a short distance from the Palace of Westminster, and several government buildings, including the Treasury.

Mr Razi, a business student at the University of Wales, nevertheless felt his treatment had been harsh. "Police wanted to remove the car. They covered the car with some of my stuff left in it. On the window, they had fined me," he said.

"The police's actions were extremely arrogant and unprofessional. They treated me like a terrorist. They were never interested in listening to my real story."

In the note he wrote before going sightseeing, he said: "Dear Sir or Madam, this car is broken. I am just waiting for the AA to arrive. Please do not fine! Thank you, yours sincerely." He had been driving his car around Parliament Square when it began to give him problems.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that a controlled explosion on a "suspect vehicle" had taken place on Wednesday morning. He added: "The incident was subsequently deemed as non-suspicious."

Westminster Conservative Councillor Daniel Astaire said: "On this occasion the driver was parked in a dangerous place, on yellow lines, so police instructed our parking attendant to issue the driver with a ticket."