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.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Virus to kill 67,000 in Monrovia by December, claims academic study
Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
Dear young men: The old stereotypes of what it is to be a 'man' are a load of rubbish
Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
What do the text messages between you and your partner reveal about your relationship?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
£4848 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Outstanding...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors/Long Term Teaching Ass...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors needed for seco...