Police are desperately trying to trace the owners of over 100 abandoned vehicles that have been left with an unapproved parking company called Gatwick First Parking.
Over the last few days there have been numerous reports to the police of passengers arriving at the airport only to find their vehicles have not been returned to them and in some cases have vanished.
Sussex Police want passengers to realise that this is a civil matter but they are doing all they can to look into the situation with a view to facilitating the return of the vehicles to the owners.
Passengers who used the company found that their website was terminated and no-one was answering calls which immediately led to raised concerns.
The police also stress that anyone planning to leave their car at the airport is urged to ensure they check the Gatwick Airport approved parking operators list.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “Whilst we recognise the distress and inconvenience caused, and sympathise with any of our passengers that have been affected, Gatwick Airport has no relationship with Gatwick First Parking as it is not an officially approved off-airport parking operator. Any passengers affected by the company’s closure should contact Trading Standards who are investigating the matter.
“Gatwick Airport strongly recommends that passengers use official on-airport parking or companies registered with Gatwick’s off-airport approved parking operators’ scheme. More information about the scheme can be found at www.gatwickairport.com/parking/other-parking-options/operator-scheme/.”
A representative from an approved operator who wished to remain anonymous said;
“This is shocking and disgusting. Companies that trade like this give our industry a bad name and affect our business. I am scared to say that this won’t be the last time it may happen.”
Sussex Police have assured us that when more information is available for those who have cars with Gatwick First Parking they will inform us immediately.
If you fear your car may be one of those abandoned then please get in touch with the police on 101.
We will keep you updated with the latest information as and when it becomes available.
Council have plans in place for ‘Beast from the East’
Salting operations are to continue throughout the period; snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.
Snowfall will be effecting most of the country over the forthcoming week and the Met Office have issued yellow weather warnings for snow as well as amber warnings for some areas.
Following these warnings, West Sussex County Council have said they have plans in place to keep main roads open.
A West Sussex Highways spokesman said:
“Precautionary salting operations will continue throughout the period and snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.
“We are therefore advising Town and Parish Councils to be prepared to enact their Winter Management Plans IF and when we issue an instruction to do so.”
A further update will be issued later today.
The County Council’s winter campaign website page has several sections giving advice on ‘staying warm’ please click here.
If you know or look after someone who may be susceptible to the effects of this cold weather period, please help ensure they stay warm and well and check in advance that they are prepared for this cold spell.
WSCC have offered some general advice including:
• Stay tuned in to weather forecasts.
• Check and maintain daytime room temperatures of 21°C.
• Check bedroom night-time temperatures and maintain it at 18°C or warmer.
• Keep warm and active and, if you have to go out, dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes.
• If you are concerned about your own health or welfare, or that of others, please alert the emergency services – details: emergency services.
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