Horror as car left in snow is speared by farmer's forklift, near Wistow, Leicestershire
A driver forced to abandon his car in a snow-filled ditch was horrified when it was taken away and wrecked – after a farmer speared it with a forklift truck.
Dan Neal, 24, left his black Citroen C2 with a note on the windscreen, after sliding off the road near to Wistow Grange Farm.
When he returned to collect the car the following day, he discovered it had already been removed by farmer Edward Gilbert.
He was then horrified to find the farmer had moved the vehicle to a barn by piercing the twin blades of the fork-lift through the bodywork.
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The £3,000 car was left with a hole in the roof, smashed side windows, a shattered windscreen, scratched doors and a missing wing mirror.
When challenged, Mr Gilbert claimed it was Dan who owed him £250 for the minor damage to his fence.
Dan, who lives in nearby Fleckney, said: "He said, 'I've confiscated your car because I'm sick of people driving into my fence'.
"He was very matter-of-fact about it. He even said I owed him £250 – I couldn't believe what he was saying."
His eight-year-old car was towed away. He is now stuck in Fleckney with no transport.
The incident happened as he was driving home from work at British Gas in heavy snow, at about 6pm last Friday evening. He skidded off a bend and into the ditch next to Mr Gilbert's land. The RAC was unable to attend and Dan was advised to leave the vehicle with a note on the dashboard.
He said: "I managed to get a lift home from my girlfriend and then I met the RAC the next morning. When I went back with them at about 9.30am, the car was gone.
"I called the police to see if anyone had reported it and they'd heard nothing so I went on a bit of a detective hunt." Dan and the RAC patrolman drove around the snow-covered area looking for the car, before they spotted a couple of men in a nearby field.
Dan said: "We got out to speak to them and as we did the farmer appeared and told us what he had done.
"The car had been destroyed. It was in a real state."
The car was lifted on to the back of the RAC's recovery vehicle and taken away as scrap.
Mr Gilbert, 38, has defended his actions, saying he was "within his rights" to remove the car.
"It had damaged the fence and there were sheep in the field and a there was a danger they could escape," he said. "It was dark and snowing and I couldn't see any sign in the car, and the forklift was the only way I had of lifting it off the fence.
"We get fed up with people going through the hedges and abandoning their cars.
"If it had been a £50,000 Bentley I might have left it in the ditch.
"But as it is, I'm waiting to send him my personal invoice for the damage he's caused to my fence."