Beloved first car sent to crusher

PUBLISHED: 07:41 23 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:04 22 October 2010

It may not have been a Porsche or Ferrari, but Nick Pagano felt like a king of the road when his parents handed over the keys of his 18th birthday present.

It may not have been a Porsche or Ferrari, but Nick Pagano felt like a king of the road when his parents handed over the keys of his 18th birthday present.

But the university student spoke of his shock last night after a council towed away and crushed his beloved first car into a cube without apparent warning.

The 19-year-old and his parents were left fuming after their 17-year-old Fiat Panda disappeared from its parking place near the University of East Anglia and was scrapped six days later.

The family, from Campion Road, Thetford, is now facing a £155 bill from Norfolk County Council after the cherished vehicle was deemed to be abandoned.

Mr Pagano, who has just finished a first year chemistry course at the UEA, said he would have to give up his summer barman job in Norwich because of the loss of his car.

"We assumed that the car had been stolen on June 8 and reported it to the police, but on Saturday we received a letter from the council saying that it had been destroyed. I was quite surprised because we received no communication from the council until then," he said.

Mr Pagano said the F-reg car was in an "immaculate" condition for its age and only had 40,000 miles on the clock when he legally parked it on Bridge Farm Lane, a housing estate near the university campus, on June 4.

But when the student returned four days later after completing his end of year exams and subsequent celebrations, the red Fiat was gone. During his absence, a rear side window had been smashed and Norwich City Council identified the Fiat as an abandoned vehicle with no tax disc.

Mother Liz Pagano said the incident was "difficult to comprehend" because the car contained work clothes, documents, and important university coursework.

She added that the car had five months tax and she was planning to take the matter to the small claims court. Some of the student's science coursework had been returned, but most of the papers were still missing, she claimed.

"It is such a pity because he has not had the car for long and it has always been looked after. It was not abandoned in any shape or form and it is not justified to scrap the car because we have spent a lot of money to keep it on the road. It has recently had a new clutch, steering column and had 11 months MOT," she said.

Mark Langlands, spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said legislation gave authorities the power to destroy cars which posed a potential hazard.

"The car was collected on June 8 as an abandoned vehicle at the request of Norwich City Council and was taken to our storage compound. It had no tax disc displayed and its rear side window had been smashed. A notice was attached to the car on June 7 warning the owner that it needed to be moved within 24 hours, but no action was taken."

"We have spoken to Mrs Pagano about her complaint and we will respond to her fully in due course once we have spoken to the staff involved," he said.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press