COUPLE who were rescued from a seaside restaurant in Milford-On-Sea during the Valentine’s Day storm have hit out at the police after being handed a hefty bill for the cost of recovering of their “abandoned” vehicle.
Following their terrifying ordeal, Gregory Pepper and his partner Jane Hopkins were shocked to find their storm-battered car had been towed away from outside The Marine eatery, without their knowledge or consent.
To add insult to injury they then received a notice from Hampshire Police demanding they pay £150 for the cost of recovering the vehicle.
“We went down the morning after and that was when the police officer told us to leave the cars where they were so we left it,” Mr Pepper explained.
“But when we went back later that day it was gone. I was parked on a single yellow line which you can do. They just took it,” he added.
The couple were among 41 staff and diners who were rescued by emergency services after the restaurant was engulfed by waves.
“By the time I got down there [the garage] on the Monday morning I had already received the notice from the police saying we had to pay £150,” Mr Pepper continued.
“We won’t have to pay the money because it will be covered by insurance but that’s not the point,” he added.
In a statement Hampshire Police said two cars were removed from the area because they were not fit to drive.
It added: “The cars were not drivable, and even if they had been it would have been impossible for the owners to recover them because of a substantial amount of debris strewn across the entire area as a result of the tidal surge.
“We would reassure the owners that Hampshire Constabulary has a long-standing agreement with the Association of British Insurers which asserts, where the police have acted in an emergency and used their statutory powers as in this case, insurers will normally accept the prescribed recovery costs as part of a legitimate claim and we would strongly advise them to add this to the insurance claim for their badly damaged vehicles.”