Stranded drivers charged £240 fee to retrieve towed cars

Colmonell's Rita Dunlop decried the "ridiculous" situation that saw her snow-beaten car towed to Kilmarnock last week.
Colmonell's Rita Dunlop decried the "ridiculous" situation that saw her snow-beaten car towed to Kilmarnock last week.

DRIVERS stranded due to bad weather have branded the removal of their vehicles “ridiculous” after cars were towed to Kilmarnock and motorists charged to pick them up.

The Carrick Gazette has heard from angered drivers who say their vehicles were towed more than 40 miles without any notice or information provided.

Rita Dunlop, 43, a catering supervisor at Girvan Academy, was on her way home to Colmonell on Friday afternoon when she ran into difficulties.

After waiting it out in gridlocked traffic for nearly two hours at Bennane, around six miles south of Girvan, Mrs Dunlop decided to abandon her car and return to collect it later on – finding a safe location well away from the road to park her vehicle for the evening.

But when she sent son Alan to retrieve her motor the following morning it had disappeared.

“He rang me up and said he couldn’t find it, and I was saying, ‘It’s definitely there, that’s where I left it’,” she said. “I had no idea what had happened.”

It was only upon talking to contacts on Facebook that she found out a friend had had the same experience – and that her car had spent the night in North Ayrshire.

Mrs Dunlop was told by friends and acquaintances that police had arrived at the King’s Arms pub in Ballantrae with a list of registration numbers, and advised motorists to move their abandoned cars or have them towed.

Luckily for her neighbour volunteered to give her a lift to the Knockentiber depot, near Kilmarnock. But, not willing to jeopardise her insurance she was still faced with a £240 charge to retrieve her car.

“A lot of people would not have the money to pay out, or even be able to get a lift up there,” Mrs Dunlop said said.

“I think it has been a money-making scheme to be honest, and it’s ridiculous that people are making money out of other people’s bad situation. The police should have contacted the owners of the vehicles and let them know.”

A police spokesman told the Carrick Gazette it is normal procedure for a police contractor to remove abandoned vehicles and for the recovery cost to be passed on to the owner.

He said vehicles uplifted in the Carrick area would usually be towed to Ayr, but due to the severe conditions on Friday is likely the Kilmarnock company used was the only one available.