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Legal dispute erupts after tow truck took leased campervan

A woman says she was forced to throw herself in front of a tow truck after a neighbour complained about her leased campervan, The Mirror reports.

Loredana Luisi watched on as the Knaus Boxster 540 campervan was lifted onto a truck outside her flat on September 10 after a neighbour claimed it was abandoned and disused – despite it regularly being used.

She said: “I went out there in pyjamas and asked these people who are you and what is the name of your company?

“Can you show me some documents? Why are you taking my camper van?

“They didn’t care and acted as if I wasn’t speaking to them. They continued taking the van into the air and putting it onto this big truck.

“I told them ‘please stop it. I will call the police, you are stealing my van.’ Nothing.

“They didn’t care. The only thing I was able to do was put my body in front of the truck to stop them moving.

“I told them ‘if you want to steal my camper van you will also have to kill me. I will not move from the front of the truck until the police arrive’.”

On their arrival, police said it was a civil matter and there was nothing they could do.

A 28-day removal notice was put on Loredana’s van on July 1, on the grounds it was untaxed and abandoned.

The notice included a letter addressed to National Parking Control, whose website allows owners or managers of private land to download a 28-day Tort Notice on the basis a vehicle parked on private land is abandoned.

Loredana responded to the removal notice, refuting the reasoning.

Luisauto Caravan, the Italian-based firm which owns the vehicle claim it was taxed and insured to be used in the UK, with Loredana’s rental running until October 31.

However, UK Tort Enforcement Services (UK TES) – the firm hired to remove the van – said they can’t accept the logbook entry due to the writing not positioned correctly on the document lines.

It says this has been verified to them by the UK DVLA, though the DVLA has told the Mirror it has no record of speaking to UK TES.

Loredana is now worried she will end up being billed for the full value of the van – estimated to be around £60,000 – and has hired solicitors RM Legal.

In a letter to UK TES on September 15, the legal firm said: “It’s clearly a serious issue for yourselves that you have unlawfully seized and retained our client’s vehicle due to your inability to recognise lawful tax documents in Italy.

“We strongly recommend that you obtain independent advice on the legitimacy of the documentation.”

A spokesman for UK TES claimed the campervan was “legally removed after a 28-day Tort was applied and spent”.

The statement continued: “After the 28 days the owner does not own the vehicle any longer and the housing association/management are liable for any legal action that may take place.

“Our service is free we do not charge for the removal of vehicles that are abandoned on private land and it’s free for housing associations.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: “We were called at 2.49pm on 10 September by a member of the public reporting a person at risk of breaching the peace in relation to a vehicle being removed from Green Lane in Hamble-le-Rice.

“This is a civil matter and no further police action is being taken at this time”.

A spokesperson for Luisauto Caravan said: “All our rental vehicles are legally insured both in Italy and abroad and taxed.

“We hope that this absurd affair will be concluded as soon as possible”.

A spokesperson for Hamble Green Management said: “Despite extensive efforts to resolve this situation we were ultimately left with no option but to arrange the removal of this vehicle.

“Ms Luisi failed to engage as an owner of the vehicle and has failed to comply with the terms of the lease, despite our continued encouragement to do so. It is unfortunate that matters have reached this level when a sensible and amicable solution could so easily have been achieved.

“The lease agreement is very clear, and we have at all times acted professionally”.

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