We are preparing to go back to the continent next week - and am I glad to be leaving !
We have had an awful experience, which I feel we should relate to everyone we know in France and Spain
On Friday, our son had a day off work ( fortunately ) and happened to come home just as the Police were loading our car onto a pick-up truck.
We rushed out there in time to see it towed away, with no opportunity to stop them.
The circumstances are these :
On 1st January 2009, Police forces throughout Britain commenced "Operation Andover," aimed at ridding the roads of foreign-registered vehicles, which were being driven in the U.K. for months or even years without having been taxed or MOTed. ( Northampton is full of them - mainly from Poland.)
We were given the DVLA directive, on which impounding was based ( press release 24/2006 ) which states that "Vehicles that are properly registered and taxed in their home countries and brought into the U.K. temporarily are usually exempt from U.K. registration in the U.K. for up to six months in any twelve month period."
Any sane person would assume that this would be a cumulative process, so someone visiting the U.K. in their vehicle from 1st January 2009 to 10th January 2009 and then from 1st July to 10th July 2009 would have been in the U.K. for a total of twenty days.
The Police's interpretation of the Directive is that the Six Month Period commences on 1st January 2009 and ends on 30th June 2009, even if the vehicle had left the U.K. within days of arriving.
This means that "ex-pats", like us, visiting their family in Britain in a foreign vehicle for a few days in January and then for a few days in July are liable to have their car impounded for having exceeded the six months period.
This was the basis for impounding our car, which visited the U.K. from 19th June to 8th July 2008 ( 20 days ) and entered again on February 9th 2009.
So it had been in the U.K. for a total for 67 days.
I spent three days going from Police station to Force Headquarters, ringing solicitors, MPs and MEPs, making statements and complaints, before a hard-working and sensible official got the car released this morning without cost - it should have been £423 !
So I am trying to let all our friends in France and Spain know about this.
Because, if this policy continues, thousands of law-abiding people, who visit the U.K. in fully-taxed foreign vehicles, are likely to have their cars impounded.
But there's more - and this will affect people who live in the U.K. and travel to Europe.
It is based on an E.U. Directive and therefore will also apply on the continent. Therefore any U.K. resident driving a U.K. registered vehicle on the continent twice in a year, more than six months apart, could have their vehicle impounded abroad - indeed, possibly, in several countries, if they drive through several.
The implications are horrendous. It is going to criminalise thousands of decent people.
We certainly feel criminalised. The guy advised us to take the car somewhere and hide it until the day we go to Dover and then drive there as quickly as legally possible, so that we are not stopped.
We now feel as though we are on the run !
Isn't it sad when you can't wait to leave your own country - and your family and friends ?
What on Earth is being done to us by these morons ?
As one of our friends said - "No wonder you're paranoid. They ARE all out to get you !"
See you later in the year - if I'm not in Prison !
Written by: A.G. Sayadian
About the author:
This is an email letter sent to me by a friend who goes, as you can see in the enclosed, twice a year at least to visit family and friends in his own, legally registered, taxed, insured, and ITV'd family car.
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