An enraged man who bombarded council officers with insults and paranoid accusations after his car was impounded for failure to pay parking fines has had his final complaint dismissed.
The man – known only as Mr C in an ombudsman report published last month – ignored seven parking tickets and numerous letters right up to the point his 20-year-old car was about to be towed.
But even as he was emailing the court to try and get the fines overturned, the car was being clamped – and four minutes before he sent his final email, at 2.30pm on September 21 last year, it had been removed.
In his complaint to the local ombudsman, Mr C said: “I do not agree with the view that, just because there is a lag in the way the council and the courts process their information, I should be penalised for it.”
He then started making frequent calls and emails to Brighton and Hove City Council claiming he needed the car and equipment in the boot for work.
But the council said he only needed the car to get to work, not for his job itself – and when they offered to open the boot in his presence to inspect the equipment he refused, accusing them of trying to trick him into giving him the keys.
His appeals to the court eventually failed and he was forced to cough up both the fines and the cost of storing the car in order to get it back.
But he then started accusing the clamping company of damaging the car and stealing sunglasses and a memory stick which, he said, had been left inside.
He even filmed himself going inside the pound late at night as proof that it was not secure.
However, the clamping company supplied photographs and a vehicle inspection report made before the removal which showed the old car already had numerous scratches on it and a broken bumper.
When he went to the pound to pick up the car, an employee of the clamping company initially asked him for a higher amount, which he claimed was an attempt to “extort” him.
Mr C said the car was so badly damaged he didn’t feel safe driving it – and when he was later spotted driving it by an employee of the clamping company, he said he was being intimidated.
However, the company pointed out he lived close to the pound and the car is very distinctive, which meant it was not hard to spot him driving it.
The bailiffs investigated the complaint, and showed him photographs showing the damage before it was removed. He also said the car had been locked and the clampers did not have the keys so could not get inside.
Mr C said a winch cover inside the car was evidence the clamping company had access to the inside – and he said the battery was run down. But the ombudsman accepted the clamper’s evidence that the cover was not for the winches they used – and Mr C could not prove the battery hadn’t been run down when it was towed.
The clamping company agreed its employee had initially asked for a higher sum than owed, but the ombudsman accepted this was an error and Mr C had not paid this so “no harm had been done.”
The ombudsman said: “Mr C seeks £4,000 to compensate him for damage to his car which he says is now dangerous to drive. He also wants compensation for the loss of his sunglasses and other items and for the cost of cleaning the car.
“Because I have not found the council at fault, I do not make any award to remedy injustice.”
Mr C has now been asked not to contact officers in the council’s parking department any more.