Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Abandoned cars finally removed

A CAR that was abandoned in a Henley street for seven months has finally been towed away after

A CAR that was abandoned in a Henley street for seven months has finally been towed away after the Henley Standard intervened.

The W-registered Renault Clio was dumped at the side of Harpsden Road, opposite the junction with Wilson Avenue, early in June last year.

Residents said it was taking up valuable space as few of their houses have driveways and the road is often congested because of double-parked vehicles.

They repeatedly complained to South Oxfordshire District Council, the DVLA and Thames Valley Police but none would do anything.

The council, which is responsible for seizing abandoned vehicles, traced the owner but he said he planned to remove the car, so it took no action.

The Clio was untaxed and its MOT expired in October, meaning the police and the DVLA had the power to step in but neither did so.

But on Thursday last week, just two days after the Standard alerted the DVLA, it sent out its enforcement contractor NSL, of Reading, to clamp the car.

Then over the weekend the vehicle was  towed away.

The owner must pay a fine of up to £1,000 to get it back and if he doesn’t do so by tomorrow (Saturday) the car could be crushed or sold. The owner’s identity is unknown but he is believed to live in the area. It is understood that the vehicle broke down and couldn’t be restarted.

Tony Sheffield, one of the residents who complained, said he was glad the car had been removed but it should have been done sooner.

He said: “I reported it for the first time at Henley police station and they just told me to call 101.

“I also told the DVLA several times by phone and online. You just go round in circles trying to get something done because everybody passes the buck. No one seems to want to know.

“This is a major problem and it’s only going to get worse because they’ve done away with tax discs. You can’t just tell at a glance that a car isn’t taxed so police officers won’t automatically spot it when they walk past.’

NSL also towed away a blue Renault Scenic that had been abandoned in the car park at Tesco, off Reading Road, Henley, for at least two months.

The vehicle had been untaxed since last July and its MOT expired in August. Shoppers said police had been out to inspect it but nothing more was done.

A DVLA spokesman said: “All reports received from members of the public are passed to our national wheelclamping contractor, who will attempt to target the vehicles when they next have a team in the area.

“We are serious about tackling vehicle tax evasion and there is a number of actions that we can take against untaxed vehicles, so while a reported vehicle may not have been clamped or impounded, a late licensing penalty or out of court settlement may have been sent direct to the keeper.’

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said residents’ complaints had been passed on to the DVLA.

He said the force would only get involved if the vehicle was causing a dangerous obstruction or was actually being driven while untaxed.

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