Sandridge pub landlady claims car taken from ‘private’ land

PUBLISHED: 07:50 12 June 2011

The Rose & Crown carpark, Sandridge.

The Rose & Crown carpark, Sandridge.

Archant

THE LANDLADY of a Sandridge pub woke up one morning to discover her new car had been towed from an area she believed to be her private land.

Emma Low’s car had been taken by the DVLA to a location in north London after mobile cameras in the area spotted the car on land near the Rose and Crown.

Emma, who bought the car on Saturday, May 28, says she and her partner Anthony Foreman are furious that the car was towed from what they consider to be their private drive the following Wednesday.

She said: “They came along and took my car from my land. It wasn’t in the car park, it was on my private drive and although there’s no gate on it, because the gate was stolen, it’s certainly not for public use and my customers can’t park there.”

Emma now faces a £360 charge to recover the car, which cost her £75, from the pound. Something she says she won’t be doing.

With no tax or MOT on the car and repair work needed, Emma says she registered the car as off-road (SORN) on Sunday and also arranged for insurance on the car.

She was unable to tax it on Bank Holiday Monday or on Tuesday as she was taking deliveries all day but had intended to tax the car on Wednesday morning.

She added: “They are saying that the car was clamped on Sunday but I never saw any clamp on it. I’m really unhappy about the fact that they can just come onto my land and take my car.

“I am supposed to be moving to another pub in a few weeks, but I’m not sure how I’ll do it without a vehicle.”

But NSL, the company which provides the wheel-clamping service for the DVLA, says the land is not private and is accessible to the public. It also says that the vehicle was only SORNed after it had been clamped by them.

A spokesperson said: “We’re confident we acted properly here. The vehicle was not SORNed – it was SORNed more than 12 hours after we clamped it – despite the fact that it is very easy to SORN a vehicle online.

“The land does not appear to be a private drive but we believe it is land to which the public has access, so it is not appropriate in any case to keep a SORNed vehicle in such a location.”

The spokesperson stressed the importance of ensuring the appropriate arrangements are made whenever a new car is bought.

He added: “As soon as a car has been bought it is the new owner’s responsibility and it must be taxed, or, if it is not to be driven on public roads, immediately SORNed and stored in an appropriate location. This is a straightforward process but was not done here.”

The DVLA’s mobile cameras have been seen throughout St Albans recently, with many car owners reporting immediate penalties for any violations.

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