A MOTORIST whose car was stolen while he slept has hit out at South Yorkshire Police for charging him to release his car from a compound – claiming victims of crime are being ‘punished’.
Stephen Bingley, of Maltravers Terrace, Wybourn, Sheffield, had his car stolen from outside his house in the early hours of Sunday.
Police arrested a 32-year-old man over the theft and found the missing car – a new Ford Fiesta – but arranged for it to be taken to a compound where there is a £150 release fee plus a £30 daily storage fee to pay first before he can get it back.
Mr Bingley, aged 53, said he does not have the spare cash to get his car back straight away – and fears the eventual bill could run into hundreds.
He said: “You think you are doing the right thing by reporting a crime but end up with getting a bill – I feel like I am the one getting punished. I am living proof that a victim of crime is treated like this.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the force has the legal right to recover vehicles, which are impounded to prevent them from being stolen again or vandalised and for forensic examinations to be carried out.
She said: “It is the policy of South Yorkshire Police to recover all abandoned stolen vehicles. Owners will often tell us they can respond immediately, but when we do try to contact them, often in the middle of the night, they do not answer their phones, or if they do, they still do not attend promptly for a number of reasons.
“The onus for the payment of the statutory recovery charges rests with the owner or insurer of the vehicle.”