A student taxi driver was arrested for sitting inside his car as bailiffs smashed the windows over parking fines racked up by the previous owner.
According to MailOnline, Mustafa Haji, 24, bought the Ford Galaxy for £2,700 and was stunned to find it clamped outside his home in Golders Green, North London, just weeks later.
He called bailiffs to ask for it to be released because he owed no money, before filming them as they allegedly smashed a window while police looked on in July.
The aerospace mechanics student was then arrested on suspicion of obstructing a person legally acting as an enforcement officer and taken to Barnet police station.
Metropolitan Police officers released him later after realising he had apparently been detained without authorisation – but Mr Haji has still not seen his car.
Since having the vehicle taken from him, he has been unable to continue his job as a part-time private hire driver and has moved house due to a lack of income.
Mr Haji said: “I’m so confused because I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m the registered owner of the car.
“They said there was an outstanding penalty charge notice from January, but that’s nothing to do with me. It dates back to a previous owner.
“I bought the car in June. I paid for the car in full and it’s insured in my name. I was shocked when I saw it had been clamped.
“I knew there was some mistake but they wouldn’t listen. Since all this happened I’ve had to move house as I can’t make any money without my car.
“I can’t afford another. It’s caused me massive stress and I’m trying to look after my little sister who is 18 and I need a car to take my grandma to hospital.
“I don’t know where it is or if I’ll ever get it back. I sat in the car hoping they wouldn’t smash it with me inside, but they did, even though the police agreed the car was mine.”
Mobile phone foot-age of the incident on July 22 shows a bailiff warning Mr Haji to put his head forward and cover his eyes before the glass is smashed.
Mr Haji claimed that the bailiffs should be looking for whoever owned the car in January rather than him.
A woman can be heard offering to pay the outstanding fine, which Mr Haji declines, before a man tells him: ‘You don’t owe the fine, it’s the vehicle.’
Mr Haji said: “How can the vehicle owe the fine? They need to track down whoever owned it in January.
“I have all the paperwork and proof that I bought the vehicle in June. It’s madness that they’re chasing me for money.
“I had to go to the police station for three or four hours, for no reason, before they admitted I shouldn’t have been there at all.
“The car is probably in a pound somewhere. I’m really struggling without it. I couldn’t afford my rent in London any more without work so I’ve moved out to Hertfordshire. The whole thing is ridiculous.”
A spokesman for bailiffs Collect Services said: “We are unable to make any comment regarding this case due to data protection laws.
“The people involved in the case have been advised to seek legal advice and any disputes will be resolved by the courts.”
A police spokesman said: “On 22 July at around 9.45pm police were called to incident on Hogarth Hill, NW11 were an enforcement officer, with a court warrant, was being prevented from carrying out the removal of a vehicle.
“Officers attended and a man - who was not the registered keeper of the vehicle - who was preventing the enforcement agents from carrying out the removal was arrested.
“The man aged 24 was arrested on suspicion of intentionally obstructing a person lawfully acting as an enforcement agent.
“He was taken to a north London police station, but was released with no further action.’
Police said the arrest was on suspicion of an offence under paragraph 68(1) of schedule 12 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.
Mr Haji has enlisted the help of parking and motoring campaigner Derek Dishman, who has instructed a barrister to take the case to a small claims court in the hope of retrieving the car.
Mr Dishman said: “Common sense should have not allowed this to go on. There should have been a more reasonable course of action - but they still won’t give the car back.
“If Mustafa didn’t own the car then why was he released so quick and not prosecuted for stealing it?
“He clearly owns it - he has the car, the keys, the log book, the sales agreement and the V5 registration document.”