A Croydon man had his car towed away from outside his own house and impounded because Croydon Council mistakingly identified it as an abandoned vehicle.

Nick Warans, from Ashley Lane, has now had his car returned after two weeks and received an apology from the council, but wants to warn other residents in case it happens to them.

Nick is a leaseholder at the Croydon block of flats and parked the car, which was a gift from his grandmother in order to teach his fiancee how to drive, outside on the private land.

The car was declared off the road with a valid SORN notice and parked in a space outside.

However, when Nick returned from a weeked away last week the car had disappeared and the council were demanding £600 to release the vehicle, rising by £40 by the day if unclaimed.

It transpired that a neighbour had complained about the vehicle and Croydon Council had removed it believing the road to be a public highway.

Nick said: "The car was parked legally alongside other cars, and caused no obstruction or hazard. The Council made no attempt to contact the landowner and if they had bothered to do so, our agents would have followed their procedures and informed me and I could have told them the vehicle is not abandoned.

"I think it is of interest to Croydon residents that their vehicles parked on their own land are at risk of apparently illegal removal by their Council if a member of the public decides the vehicle looks abandoned'.

"The vehicle was roadworthy, had a valid MOT, and was insured."

In an email to Nick, an officer from the Vehicle Nuisnace Service department at Croydon Council said: "For future reference we will need the permission of the landowners/managing agents to remove vehicles from there as it does appear to be private property and not public highway."