Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Council kerfuffle over wheel-less car

Walthamstow resident Adrian Baker claims his legally-parked car, without its wheels, was seized over a month ago – and that he’s yet to get it back… [...]

Hero for Council kerfuffle over wheel-less car
Photograph of Adrian’s car being removed, taken by a neighbour
By Waltham Forest Echo 10 June 2021

Walthamstow resident Adrian Baker claims his legally-parked car, without its wheels, was seized over a month ago – and that he’s yet to get it back…

A Walthamstow man has claimed that Waltham Forest Council and its contracted vehicle removal company, Redcorn Ltd, removed his car from the street and impounded it without giving any notice. 

Engineer and car enthusiast Adrian Baker was shocked to learn that his car was being hauled away from its usual parking spot on Stephenson Road, Walthamstow, back in April. 

The vehicle – an “appreciating classic” in the form of a 20-year-old Toyota Aventis Estate, worth around £3,000 – was being propped up on axle stands with the wheels removed, and was in the process of being fixed, Adrian tells the Echo. 

It was taxed, insured, MOT’d and parked on a street close by to his residential address, not directly in front of a house. He had been working on the vehicle over several weekends, spending several hundreds of pounds on now-unusable parts. 

A neighbour first alerted Adrian to the fact his car was being removed by the council on 20th April, when he was away for work. 

A Waste Transfer Consignment Note, which was dated 13th April and sent to Adrian by his neighbour via WhatsApp, showed that the car was deemed abandoned and would be crushed within days – though the latter was revealed to be an error. 

The wheel-less Toyota Aventis was then stored without destruction at a yard in Essex, operated by Redcorn Ltd – which describes itself as “London’s largest ELV and nuisance vehicle contractor” on its website. 

Adrian was eventually able to regain access to his car on the Redcorn site – but claims he was prohibited from retrieving his ‘top box’, worth over £3,000, from the car’s roof. 

He also claims that, to take back possession of the car, he was told there was a £240 release fee, and that he’d have to remove it off the lot himself despite the fact it had no wheels attached when it was taken from Stephenson Road. 

Emails to Adrian from a neighbourhood senior officer at the council, seen by the Echo, cite Section 149(2) of the Highways Act 1980 in regard to his complaint. It states that anything “unlawfully deposited” on a highway can be removed without notice, if it causes a potential threat to the public. 

The fact the Aventis was on axle stands, and could possibly be knocked off those stands causing injury, was the stated reason for the potential risk. 

But Adrian maintains that his vehicle was lawfully parked, as well as fully taxed, insured and MOT’d – which would mean that this section of the act is not applicable. 

The same email also said that a complaint had been made by a member of the public about the car – though Adrian believes any complaint may be connected to a pile of waste from a compost bin in the vicinity. 

“There was some mud on the ground that someone else had dumped [near the car],” he says. 

“Most people in that road, I know them, and they know me – and they know I was working on the car, so it wouldn’t have been them that complained about it. They saw me over the weekend. 

“I think someone has made a complaint about the mud behind the vehicle, [someone has] sent an operative or one of these agents out to look at it – then they’ve seen this pile behind [the car], put two and two together and come up with 48.” 

At the time of writing, on 20th May, Adrian tells the Echo he remains unable to take back possession of his car. He assumes it is still being stored at Redcorn’s site. On 26th May, Adrian was told his complaint is being further investigated by the council. 

His total financial loss, including the car and its many parts, is around £4,000. 

“The principle outweighs the value of the property… it goes beyond the £4,000 I’ve lost,” he says. “The people we’re paying for should be doing what they’re supposed to be doing. 

“There has to be a procedure and due diligence to follow, before you go around taking people’s stuff. Otherwise, we’re just on a highway to madness.” 

A Waltham Forest Council spokesperson said: “We received a complaint about a vehicle on car jacks on a public road. This was deemed a danger to the public and, as such, the council took the appropriate measures to deal with the matter.”