The DVLA has been forced to return a number of cars across Northampton that it falsely believed were illegal.
The cars, which were all parked on concrete hardstanding, were clamped then towed away from several locations across the town in recent weeks for being untaxed and parked in public.
But it has now emerged that the owners they were the victim of a misunderstanding as, in law, the concrete surfaces are privately owned and not public places.
Workers contracted by the DVLA, who spent hours towing the cars away, were returning 10 of them to addresses in Thorplands and other areas yesterday.
It is understood the reason the cars were taken was human error.
A van with a number plate recognition camera drove around estates in Northampton and spotted untaxed vehicles.
However, it is believed a member of staff wrongly interpreted the parking spots as public places.
Untaxed cars that are towed away are usually taken to a pound and can be auctioned off after two weeks if the tax is not renewed.
A man on the Thorplands estate whose car was returned yesterday after first being towed away on Tuesday, said he was “absolutely furious” about the bungle.
Not only was his car parked on a legal area of concrete hardstanding, but he said the only reason it was not taxed was because he was still waiting for a logbook for the vehicle from the DVLA.
“I think it’s an absolute joke,” the man said. “They had already put a warning sign and a clamp on the car last week and I called them afterwards to tell them it was wrong.
“I thought that was the end of it, but then they went and took it.
“I didn’t even know they were going to bring it back, so it was a surprise to see it being winched back onto my parking space.”
A spokesperson for NSL, the contractor employed to tow untaxed cars away by the DVLA, said: “Having now established the status of these 10 vehicles, we have returned them all to the same parking spot, or removed their clamps as appropriate, without charge.
“Anyone who did pay unclamping fees will be fully refunded and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
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