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Motorist in feud with garage after car stolen while being repaired

PUBLISHED: 08:15 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 14 January 2020

Stephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs and later found crashed. Picture: Archant

Stephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs and later found crashed. Picture: Archant

Archant

A motorist is demanding compensation after his car was stolen from a garage while in for repair work.

Stephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: ArchantStephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: Archant

In September, agricultural engineer Stephen Wright took his car to Dunthornes Garage in Wells to have routine repairs carried out.

When the work turned out to be more complex than expected, the garage kept Mr Wright's Ford Focus over the weekend.

But to his surprise, at 11pm on Sunday, September 8, Mr Wright received a call from police informing him his car had been involved in a crash at Egmere.

Stephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: ArchantStephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: Archant

The garage owner has admitted he dropped the keys and that they must have been found, but believes the matter is over.

"I said to the officer it can't be my car because it's in the garage," said the 56-year-old Mr Wright. "I thought it was a wind-up.

"The officer came to see me and showed me a picture of the car, which is when I confirmed it was mine.

Stephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs, it was later found crashed. Picture: ArchantStephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs, it was later found crashed. Picture: Archant

"We went to the garage and could see the gates had been forced open. It didn't look like there was any damage to the workshop, where I'd been told my car would be kept."

The following morning, Mr Wright returned to Dunthornes to demand an explanation.

"I said 'well, where's my car?'," he added. "They said they had taken it outside on the Friday night because someone wanted to use the garage for private work on the Saturday.

Stephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: ArchantStephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: Archant

"I asked where the keys were and the chap just couldn't answer me."

Mr Wright was offered £2,400 by his insurance company, but remains adamant he should also receive compensation from Dunthornes.

Julian Dunthorne, who runs the business on Great Eastern Way, admits making a mistake but believes the saga has run its course.

Stephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: ArchantStephen Wright's car was stolen from Dunthorne's garage in Wells-next-the-Sea while it was in for repairs. Picture: Archant

"For the first time in 28 years I dropped a set of keys," said Mr Dunthorne. "The people who broke in must have found Mr Wright's keys and then his car.

"Mr Wright wants more money for the stress this has caused, but he's been offered more than the car is worth.

"This whole situation has left a bitter taste in the mouth. It didn't exactly do me any good."

In relation to the incident, a Norfolk police spokesman said: "A man in his 20s and a man in his late teens were arrested in connection and released under investigation. Enquiries are ongoing."


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