Family who left car in Heathrow's official zone return to wreck
Family who paid £166 to leave their car in Heathrow’s official ‘secure parking’ zone return from holiday to discover thieves had stolen catalytic converter and vehicle could now be written off
- A family who paid 3166 for official ‘secure’ parking have had car written off
- Read more: Up to 80 holidaymakers a year have cars stolen after paying £145
- ARE YOU A CUSTOMER OF TERMINAL UNIVERSAL LTD AFFECTED BY THEFT? Email [email protected] or [email protected]
A family who paid £166 for Heathrow’s official ‘secure parking’ were shocked when vital parts were stolen – effectively writing off their Subaru.
Oliver and Amy Clague had taken their one-year-old son Jack on holiday to Canada and parked in Heathrow’s official long-stay car park, believing it would protect their vehicle.
The Bristol couple had not slept for more than 24 hours when they returned to find essential parts, including their catalytic converter, had been stolen.
On their return to the UK on January 28, their car made a concerning noise and when TV Director Oliver checked under bonnet, parts were missing.
It comes as at least 80 holidaymakers had their cars allegedly stolen after paying up to £145 to park them with a meet-and-greet firm at Heathrow Airport over the last month.
Oliver and Amy Clague had taken their one-year-old son Jack on holiday to Canada and parked in Heathrow’s official long-stay car park
Oliver and Amy Clague were in ‘disbelief’ when they found their car had to be towed and potentially written off after their holiday
The Clagues had ‘paid extra’ to park in Heathrow’s official long-stay car park while they were in Canada.
They thought it would ‘be much safer’ for their car – however were shocked to find that theft ‘happens often there’.
Oliver, who works as a TV director, said: ‘We were absolutely exhausted, we had just gotten off of the shuttle bus and I’d left my wife and son at the bus stop whilst I went and got the car.
READ MORE: Up to 80 holidaymakers a year have cars stolen after paying £145 for car park
‘When I got into the car and started it up it made the loudest noise, so I called my friend who’s a mechanic and asked him why the car would sound like that.
‘He told me to look under the front and check that nothing is missing, I looked under and could see a pipe that should connect to something with a big gap.
‘He told me that people were going round stealing catalyst converters. I was in shock and disbelief when I went back to my wife and crying baby.
‘When I told her part of our engine had been stolen she couldn’t quite believe it either.
‘It just didn’t occur to me that my car wouldn’t be safe – the car park is branded as safe and secure on the website with 24/7 patrols.
‘We paid more to stay in the official Heathrow secure parking, we care a lot about our car
The family pressed an emergency button at the bus stop to summon a parking attendant who ‘didn’t seem shocked’ about the incident.
A catalyst converter costs between £150 and £800 on average in the UK, and can be removed from a car relatively easily.
The family were told by the person who towed their car that he had seen this happen to other cars in the car park.
The family car, which the family had paid £166 to park in a ‘secure’ car park, may have to be written off
Essential parts of the car had been roughly torn off when the family returned to the car park on January 28
The family’s luggage outside of their car. Oliver Clague said if he had known that problems with the car park were common he would have taken a taxi
The family car had to be towed from the car park after thieves stole essential parts from under the bonnet
The car is now with the family’s insurance, who are assessing the damage.
However Oliver said there is a strong possibility they’ll write the car off as catalyst converters are so expensive to replace.
He said: ‘The whole thing is a shock to me.
‘We have good insurance thankfully but there’s a good chance the insurance will write the car off which is not an ideal outcome as the money we’ll get won’t be enough for a new car.
‘After it happened, I Googled it and it’s been reported that it’s happened before. If I had known I never would have parked there, it would have been cheaper to get a taxi.
‘The Parking attendant told me that after Covid layoffs, they just couldn’t get the staff back. So there’s not enough people to patrol all the cars in there – it’s huge.’
The family pressed an emergency button at the bus stop to summon a parking attendant who ‘didn’t seem shocked’ about the incident
Oliver emailed Heathrow to make them aware of the incident but the airport initially refused to offer a refund
Oliver emailed Heathrow to make them aware of the incident however Heathrow said they were ‘unable to accept liability and therefore unable to offer a refund of any kind at this time.’
The family did eventually receive a refund for their parking, however feel like they need to ‘warn others’ of the problem.
Oliver added: ‘All of this has happened because because we tried to find the most secure car park. I just want to warn people not to park there.
‘If Heathrow are saying they’re providing a safe and secure parking service, then how are they not responsible when a part of my car gets stolen.
‘It seems like Heathrow don’t care and don’t want to help unless they have to. Even with a refund, £166 doesn’t help fix the car or deal with the stress of not having one at all.’
Heathrow has been approached for a comment.
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