Capel St Mary: Money for old rope as police land driver with �150 tow bill

CAPEL ST MARY: A stranded motorist claims impatient Suffolk police left him with a �150 bill after his car broke down – and they called in their own tow firm before he had time to collect it.

George Knight is furious because he was just 100 yards away from his regular garage when the clutch on his Ford Fiesta gave out.

Problems began soon after 81-year-old Mr Knight set off from his home in Capel St Mary for the five-mile journey to Ipswich.

As he joined the A12 dual-carriageway, the car broke down so he pulled over on to the hatched markings out of the flow of traffic.

The retired farm worker left his keys at the garage on the opposite side of the road, where mechanic David Gulliver promised to collect it as soon as he could.

But when Mr Gulliver, from Capel Station Garage in Bentley Hall Lane, arrived, he found a policeman had coned off the car and had already called one of the force’s preferred companies to remove it.

The firm, TripleC, collected Mr Knight’s car and delivered it to Mr Gulliver’s garage – along with a �150 bill for the owner.

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Mr Knight said: “I had left the car in the safest place possible – it was not in the carriageway.

“I gave the keys to my local garage to collect it because it had been booked in for the clutch to be done anyway and it was the nearest.

“But then I got a call from the police to say the car would be collected and taken away by another firm. And it cost me a lot more money – my garage would have charged me just �30 for towing me in.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “The officer considered the car was an obstruction and a danger on the slip-road and called for one of our approved breakdown services to collect it.

“The other garage arrived while the rescue vehicle police had called was on its way.”

Mr Gulliver said: “The car ended up where it was supposed to do at the garage – but it cost poor Mr Knight more than �100 on top because the police weren’t prepared to wait a few extra minutes.”

Simon Mamo, 46, who also works at the garage, said: “The police were being single-minded about it, but I can see both sides. The car wasn’t causing any problems – it was safe enough. But from their point of view, they wanted it off the highway.”

n Were the police right to tow it off the road? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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