Disabled Royal Navy veteran left in ‘panic’ after threatening letters over parking tickets for stolen car

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THE carer of a disabled military veteran fears a parking row over unpaid tickets when his car was stolen ‘could finish him off’.

Former navy petty officer Thomas Lockhart, 64, and his partner and carer Denise Andrew, 62, have been left in a ‘panic’ after being issued a number of threatening letters warning them of court action if they fail to pay.

Thomas Lockhart. Picture: Sarah Standing

Thomas Lockhart. Picture: Sarah Standing

They received letters saying they had to stump up £188 after their Ford B Max car was stolen following the burglary of their Arundel Street house in Portsmouth last September.

The vehicle was found smashed up 10 weeks later in Canal Walk. No one has been arrested for the theft.

The thief behind the burglary racked up a number of parking tickets while parked in Canal Walk before police were informed of the car’s whereabouts. 

Insult was added to injury for the couple, though, as they were deemed responsible for the unpaid tickets - with them left on tenterhooks over whether they will be dragged to court to pay for the criminal’s actions after receiving letters from bailiffs Whyte & Co.

Thomas Lockhart. Picture: Sarah Standing

Thomas Lockhart. Picture: Sarah Standing

Denise, speaking on behalf of Thomas who struggles to talk after suffering a stroke, said: ‘Our brand new mobility car was stolen after someone gained access to the house and took the car keys when I popped outside. 

‘We didn’t see the car for weeks before it was finally recovered. Months later we suddenly start getting all these warning letters over unpaid parking tickets from when the car was stolen. 

‘It’s been a nightmare. We’ve spoken to the council, police and enforcement agents but, as sympathetic as they are, they all just pass us around.

‘I’m worried about Thomas as he gets himself in such a state and it is difficult for me as I have to deal with it all. We’re frightened the bailiffs may turn up at any moment. I worry all the stress could finish Thomas off.’

In total, there are five unpaid tickets but the amount owed increases every time they are not paid.

But following The News’ intervention, the couple’s nightmare is set to be put behind them.

Kevin McKee, parking team manager at Portsmouth City Council, said a council officer told the couple the tickets would be cancelled if an appeal was made. 

‘We didn't receive an appeal,’ Mr McKee said. ‘In the meantime, letters were sent to the owner using the address details registered with the DVLA. We have to use these details for such letters, but unfortunately the DVLA had not received the most recent address.

‘We've now received a letter sent to the court, which confirms the circumstances, and we're happy to cancel the tickets.

‘This is a very unusual case and we're sorry for any worry it's caused.’

The city council’s officers found the car and informed Mr Lockhart of the discovery.