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Flintshire Council destroyed a car in error while its owner was in hospital

The owner had been restoring his BMW before it was crushed. Credit: PA Images

Flintshire Council seized and destroyed a BMW in error when the owner was undergoing surgery in hospital.

An ombudsman investigation into the incident, which happened back in 2016, has found that the council mistakenly classified the car as abandoned. The vehicle was then destroyed before its owner returned home.

After three days in hospital the owner, referred to as Mr G, got home to find his BMW missing. He reported the missing car to the police but was told that Flintshire Council had removed the vehicle.

Police told the owner his car had been removed by the Council. Credit: PA Images

An ombudsman investigation found no evidence that the Council had attempted to search the DVLA's vehicle database to identify the owner before removing it.

The investigation also found that Mr G was incorrectly told by the Council and the car dismantler that his BMW had been destroyed - the vehicle was not destroyed until two weeks later.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said he was "astounded" by the series of errors.

I was astounded by the sequence of events that led to the complainant having his car destroyed and clearly in this case the council has failed him.

This is as classic a case of maladministration as I have witnessed in four years of office. It adds insult to injury for Mr G that the car contained tools he was using to restore his cherished BMW, and I am pleased the council will at least provide redress to cover the costs of this.

– Nick Bennett, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Inside the car were hundreds of pounds worth of tools being used to restore the BMW. Following the ombudsman investigation, the Council has agreed to pay Mr G £2500 for the loss of his car and its contents.

Flintshire Council say it accepts the findings and have "conducted a full review of its processes for dealing with abandoned vehicles".