Police demanded £260 from a couple whose car was stolen – after their vehicle was taken to a garage for fingerprints.
They charged Claire and Craig Harvey for the cost of impounding the vehicle, a Volkswagen Polo worth £720, at a garage while they dusted it down for prints.
But the couple say they were initially told there would be no charges – and they would never have agreed to it if there were.
Now Staffordshire Police has waived the charge as a ‘gesture of goodwill’.
Claire, aged 31, from Norton, said: “On May 1, our car was stolen from outside the house.
“It was missing all day and the police then found it in Tunstall. We got to the car and two officers asked my husband if he would like them to take it to the compound for forensics.
“My husband asked if we would have to pay and the police officer said twice that we wouldn’t and that the police would cover it.
“So we agreed and they took it to a garage, although we didn’t know which garage.
“Two weeks later, my husband received a message on Facebook from the garage asking if it was his car they had because it was going to be crushed as nobody had come forward for it and that we needed to pay £260 in fees.
“We told him that we were told by the police that we wouldn’t have to pay. I rang the police and managed to speak to a sergeant who told us we had to pay the fee.”
Craig says if he had known there would be a charge for storing the car, he wouldn’t have agreed to the police taking it.
The 39-year-old said: “I was gobsmacked when the police told us we had to pay because they made it perfectly clear to me that we wouldn’t have to pay the fees.”
After complaining, Claire says the police agreed to pay £110 towards the fee due to a ‘lack of communication’.
But the NHS worker says the police should pay the full amount.
She added: “I’ve lost all faith and trust in the police after how they handled this situation. We want them to pay the rest of the money.”
Staffordshire Police says it has now waived the vehicle storage fee as a gesture of goodwill.
A spokesman said: “We recovered a stolen vehicle on May 1 and arranged for a local recovery agent to collect and store the vehicle as per standard force procedure.
“A forensic examination took place and a notice letter giving instructions on how to arrange collection was sent, but it unfortunately did not reach Mr Harvey as he was not listed as the vehicle’s registered keeper.
“Following discussions with Mr Harvey, and as a gesture of goodwill Staffordshire Police, have waived the vehicle storage fee.”