Suburb couple wheely angry over scooter snatch
Tan Parsons A COUPLE from Hampstead Garden Suburb were left in the lurch after Barnet Council impounded their scooter while they were on holiday. Cedric Torossian and his wife Juliette Otterburn-Hall, of Denman Drive North, have had the scooter taken from
A COUPLE from Hampstead Garden Suburb were left in the lurch after Barnet Council impounded their scooter while they were on holiday.
Cedric Torossian and his wife Juliette Otterburn-Hall, of Denman Drive North, have had the scooter taken from outside their home twice in two months by council workers over the alleged non-payment of a tax disc.
But the couple, who have documents proving they are paid up until the end of June, were still awaiting the return of the vehicle from a compound in Tottenham Hale when the Ham&High went to press.
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On the first occasion last month, neighbours told them that the scooter was taken and returned on the same day while the couple were away.
Mr Torossian said: "This is not a democracy any more. In a democracy everyone is entitled to make a mistake and I should have had a warning but I had nothing - not even a note to tell me where my scooter was. But it isn't even me who made the mistake - it is them. What happens next time when they make a mistake on a bigger scale - maybe they will take my scooter or my car or burn my house."
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When Mr Torossian contacted the council after returning from holiday on May 17 he was led on a wild goose chase of telephone calls after initially being told there was no record of his vehicle ever having been impounded.
Ms Otterburn-Hall said: "So despite the fact that they have made an error, taken his bike, refused to release it, caused us worry and inconvenience, time and money and they have been rude and unhelpful on the phone, he is supposed to trek over there to sort this out."
After the Ham&High contacted Barnet Council, a spokesman apologised for the mix up, blaming the misunderstanding on a cracked number plate and promised to return the scooter as soon as possible.
He said: "We are very sorry for any inconvenience the owner has suffered. We believe the scooter was taken away because of an understandable mistake."
He said part of the scooter's number plate was damaged and their contractor, who acts for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, read the last letter incorrectly.
He said: "A vehicle with this registration was found to be unlicensed, so the scooter was removed. However, when the council received the owner's complaint, the number plate was checked again.
"This time the correct last letter was inserted, and the DVLA computer showed it was taxed by its owner. We are returning the scooter without delay and can only apologise."
The council had no record of the scooter having been removed on the first occasion.