Doctor loses life's work after council clears garage

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The Independent Online

The archive was a lifetime of work and study, books, journals, papers, scientific slides and family memorabilia as well as one rather old medical school skeleton. And the council carted it away to the tip.

The archive was a lifetime of work and study, books, journals, papers, scientific slides and family memorabilia as well as one rather old medical school skeleton. And the council carted it away to the tip.

Dr Robin Moseley's collection had been stored in an open garage close to his home in Cambridge while he was waiting for a new office in Newmarket to be completed.

But someone e-mailed the rubbish collection department of Cambridge city council and said it needed to be taken away. So they did, without attempting to establish ownership.

Dr Moseley, 51, who is a gynaecological pathologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, said: "It is completely bizarre. Without checking with anybody, they just came on to the grounds of the flats where I live, which is private property, into the garage, which is also private property and took away my personal property.

"It was covered, but not locked up because, frankly, there was nothing there to interest a criminal. But it was a large volume of material and tremendously important and valuable to me. And it included the skeleton I had when I was studying. It is irreplaceable."

Dr Moseley said the property was stored in the garage because the flat he is renting is too small and his new office is not yet complete. To add insult to injury, he is now concerned that the £37,000 compensation which he is asking for from the council - which has accepted responsibility and apologised for the incident - may be contested by the council's insurers.

"Accidents can happen after all and I recognise that the authority has accepted responsibility," Dr Moseley said.

"But what concerns me now is that the matter is just going to get bogged down with the insurers and they are going to offer me some trivial sum which comes nowhere near the value of these items. This happened six weeks ago and they have accepted liability, so why can't they just pay up?"

The council stressed that it had admitted the error, saying it had acted in response to a request from someone who believed the collection had been simply dumped in the garage. The council said it "regretted" the incident and had apologised to Dr Moseley. A spokesman said: "We are doing what we can to make sure this does not happen in the future and the matter is now being dealt with by our insurers."

The insurer, Zurich Municipal, said it had received the claim from the local authority only three weeks ago. "It is not as though it has been sitting on our desks for months and months," a spokesperson said. "We have appointed a loss adjuster and we are investigating the situation as we are required to do. We understand that this is a stressful situation for Dr Moseley and we are trying to resolve it as quickly as possible but there are set procedures which have to be followed."

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