It happened to me
Saturday 29 March 1997
When our car was stolen from north London, we learned of its disappearance only when the police reported that it had been found - in a lock-up garage in Slough.
The local Thames Valley police advised us that either we could pay for a local contractor to recover the vehicle (cost, pounds 95 + VAT), or the RAC could collect it.
The RAC were willing to oblige, and arranged to meet a local police officer where the car was found, "within an hour or so". Shock evaporated into relief - until the RAC called to say they could locate neither the car nor the police officer. We rang the police, who said they had been too busy to send anyone out, but would do so as soon as possible.Silence prevailed until 8am the following morning, when our worst fears were realised: at 6am the police had checked, and couldn't find the car. It had been stolen again.
Angry, we complained to the chief inspector, who explained that stolen vehicles are not recovered unless the owner specifically requests this at the time they are reported stolen - an option we had not been offered. He also pointed out: "There is no legal requirement on the police to safeguard stolen property."
Thames Valley police used either to recover vehicles, or disable them and leave them where they were - but owners' complaints about damage prompted a change to the system. Other local forces, too, have changed their policy. Yet there is no central source of information as to which forces recover stolen cars, and how.
The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action
Life & Style blogs
Looking past the search results: Google 2.0 will 'build airports and cities' says report
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
iOS 8: how to free up memory on your iPhone or iPad to install the update
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teaching Assistant required in ...