Teen hit with bill after car is stolen

LUCY Peacock was left heartbroken when her car was stolen and later written off by the thieves who had pinched it.

LUCY Peacock was left heartbroken when her car was stolen and later written off by the thieves who had pinched it.

But the teenager's disappointment turned to amazement when police handed her an invoice for the recovery costs and storage of the stricken vehicle.

The Ford Fiesta was stolen from outside Lucy's Stowmarket Road home in Great Blakenham on August 5 and was found in Ipswich a day later, minus a wheel and beyond repair.

She was stunned, however, when she discovered that she was in debt to the tune of £178 after police had instructed a recovery specialist to collect the car, at a cost of £105, and then, for £12 a day, stored it at a depot in Hatcheston.

To compound her misery, the 18-year-old barmaid has been left to face up to life off the road after she was advised that there was no point in claiming on her insurance because the excess was £500 - around £150 more than the value of the vehicle.

Lucy bought the Fiesta, her first car, around four months ago having only learnt to drive last month.

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Mum, Alison, 42, said: “It's amazing that she's had something stolen but yet she is the one who has to pay out.

“It just doesn't seem right.

“I will help her out with the recovery costs, but Lucy will have to pay most of it.

“And with no car, she's relying in people to take her to and from work.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Stolen vehicles are a danger to public safety, often defective or damaged and likely to be re-stolen or destroyed.

“All stolen or suspected stolen vehicles found abandoned in Suffolk are removed by approved Vehicle Recovery Operators (VROs) contracted by Suffolk Constabulary to ensure prompt recovery to a secure location where they may be forensically examined.

“Any vehicle removed under statutory powers will be at the owner's expense. For this there is a statutory fee of £105.

“Once the vehicle is released after being examined, and the owner is notified of this by either the VRO or the constabulary's vehicle recovery liaison officer, the owner will be liable for a fee for every further day that it remains in storage.”

Should car theft victims have to pay out on recovery costs? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk