A HEARTLESS towing company refused to return the car of a disabled woman despite the calls by her distraught daughter, two police officers and a warden.
Lisa Dyson had parked in a disabled bay at St Phillips Square, Birmingham, on the afternoon of April 4, as her mother, Lesley Luckman, who suffers from Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder, desperately needed the toilet.
In their rush, they failed to display Lesley’s blue badge, believing at worst they might receive a ticket. So they were horrified to discover the car had disappeared without a trace just half an hour later.
“I just panicked,” said Lesley, aged 54, from Colebrook Road, in Shirley. “I thought, how will we get home?’
Thinking the car was stolen, Lisa, aged 24, spoke to nearby police officers who put her in touch with Mansfield Group Birmingham, in Witton, who tow cars away for the city council, where she was informed she would have to pay and collect it.
It was at this point Mrs Luckman suffered a seizure.
“My mum had been on her feet, getting stressed for some time,” Lisa said.
“Because of mum’s condition, she can’t stand for long periods or she starts stuttering, then she collapses and has a fit.”
While the paramedics attended to Mrs Luckman, the officers and a traffic warden requested Mansfield to return the car. All were refused.
“They just said they had no daytime managers available. In the end, we gave up and got a taxi to the pound, when mum should have gone straight back to bed,” said part-time carer Lisa.
“They knew just who I was when I got there, and what had happened but they just took £140 off me.”
The mother and daughter are now calling on Birmingham Council to re-think its towing policy.
Mrs Luckman added: “I could understand a ticket, I knew I’d forgotten my badge. “I could’ve paid the fine but at least I’d have known I was safe, could get home all right.
“But having the car towed away I felt very vulnerable and afraid.”
A city council spokesperson said keeping disabled bays clear for genuine users was a priority.
She added the warden could find no sign of a blue badge, signs of disability adaptions in the vehicle, or a nil rate tax disc so a ticket was issued and the car removed.
“When Ms Dyson and her mother returned, another warden helped by calling control, providing contact numbers, lending his coat and fleece during Ms Luckman’s seizure, and gave advice on how to appeal, which they have not done,” she added.
Mansfield Group declined to comment.