A Bristol family was left devastated after flying back from a holiday to find their car had been written off.
Oliver and Amy Clague, from St George, returned with their one-year-old baby to Heathrow to discover their catalytic converter had been stolen and they could no longer drive their vehicle.
When the family – who hadn’t slept for over 24 hours – complained to staff, they were told they were very little they could do to help. The couple had forked out £160 to park at the ‘secure’ location, and picked it over cheaper alternatives nearby because they believed it was safer.
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Oliver, who works as a TV director, said: ” We came back from this long-haul flights, no sleep with our baby on our lap, only to find that our car is unsafe to drive because Heathrow can’t keep track of who enters their parking facilities. You get 20 mins free in there, and to rip out a Catalytic converter – which can be worth thousands because of the platinum and rare minerals inside it – takes less than three minutes to do. Some cars you don’t even need a jack.”
The 39-year-old added: “So if Heathrow don’t monitor who goes in and out, or can’t adequately patrol the area, then you have this bonkers car parts bonanza at Heathrow. The Parking attendant told me that after Covid layoffs, they just couldn’t get the staff back , or didn’t try. They were all laid off when people stopped flying, and not many of them came back.”
Heathrow originally refused to refund the couple, but after being approached by Bristol Live they have now been offered a full refund.
“Owing to the high cost of replacing a catalytic converter, it seems likely that our car is going to be written off by insurance, leaving us with no option but to buy a new car,” Oliver added. “I just want other people to be aware of this. We thought we were parking our car in a safe, secure storage facility, and it turned out to be nothing of the sort.”
On Heathrow’s website they advertise their car parking as being ‘safe and secure’. Bristol Live has approached Heathrow for a comment.
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