A couple and their young baby were left stuck at Heathrow Airport after they returned from a trip to find their car had been damaged while they were away, despite being left in one of the airport’s secure parking facilities.
Oliver and Amy Clague returned with their one-year-old baby to Heathrow to discover their catalytic converter had been stolen and they could no longer drive their vehicle. When the family – who hadn’t slept for over 24 hours – complained to staff, they were told they were very little they could do to help.
The couple had forked out £160 to park at the ‘secure’ location, and picked it over cheaper alternatives nearby because they believed it was safer. Oliver, who works as a TV director, said: “We came back from this long-haul flights, no sleep with our baby on our lap, only to find that our car is unsafe to drive because Heathrow can’t keep track of who enters their parking facilities.
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“You get 20 minutes free in there, and to rip out a catalytic converter – which can be worth thousands because of the platinum and rare minerals inside it – takes less than three minutes to do. Some cars you don’t even need a jack.”
The 39-year-old added: “So if Heathrow don’t monitor who goes in and out, or can’t adequately patrol the area, then you have this bonkers car parts bonanza at Heathrow. The parking attendant told me that after Covid layoffs, they just couldn’t get the staff back , or didn’t try. They were all laid off when people stopped flying, and not many of them came back.
“Owing to the high cost of replacing a catalytic converter, it seems likely that our car is going to be written off by insurance, leaving us with no option but to buy a new car,” Oliver added. “I just want other people to be aware of this. We thought we were parking our car in a safe, secure storage facility, and it turned out to be nothing of the sort.”
On the airport’s website they advertise their car parking as being ‘safe and secure’ and say that all of their 11 car parks are “well lit and have round-the-clock security.” The couple were originally refused a full refund but were later granted one after Bristol Live contacted Heathrow.
If you’re looking to take a trip away, you can book flights through JetBlue, FinnAir, British Airways, easyJet and KLM as options or accommodation via Booking.com.
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