Category Archives: Stolen Car

My BMW Z3 was stolen from the Hillcroft Garage in Langstone, Newport in July 2006. Direct Line Insurance paid the wrong person for it, Royal Sun Alliance haven’t repaired it. Find out the full story here.

Time to replace my car?

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, or if you’re unlucky enough to know me, you’ll be familiar with the fiasco concerning my car. I won’t go into detail (because it’s all on this website in various blogs over the years) but in short I bought my car in 2004 and, in that time, it has broken down a few times, been crashed by me a few more times, had its roof slashed, been crashed into, been stolen, been falsely claimed on the insurance by someone else and has been the subject of a dispute between me and not just one, but two insurance companies (use the category tags below for details).

Anyhow, as I mentioned I bought this convertible back in 2004 and, as has become apparent over the years, it’s not the best car for the UK (or for me, really). The pictures below will show just one of the many problems associated with this very low down, two seater, real wheel drive convertible with low profile tyres.

The last few years have seen some pretty heavy snowfall in the UK over Christmas (probably something to do with polar bears and ice caps) and it’s made my car practically unusable for the duration. I’d have been better off with something like a 4×4 (such as the Toyota Landcruiser I once had) or even a small quad bike or ATV snow plough, which I have been looking at online!

Quad bikes aside (because they would be somewhat chilly) I have been looking at a new car in all seriousness. My BMW is about to tick over the 100,000 miles and, having owned it for 7 years, it’s probably due to be replaced. Of course, it may have 100,000 miles on the clock but the engine has actually only done about 45,000, because it was replaced after some idiot stole it while it was in for repairs and completely knackered it, so it has a new engine. Also, I may have owned it for 7 years, but for 18 months the car was in hiding because Direct Line insurance wanted to repossess it.

For the sake of argument though, it’s a 100,000 mile car that I’ve had for 7 years and it’s nearly time to swap it. So what should I get next? Something practical? Something economical? Something that just makes sense?

What do you reckon?

Halfords website does not work

After much deliberation I decided it was high time I replaced the car stereo in my car. It hasn’t worked since the car was stolen some years ago and the engine was replaced, tripping the security code for the BMW radio, which I do not have.

I’ve been without music in my car ever since. So, I felt now was the time to buy a CD player with MP3 player functionality. I thought I’d use Halfords as they offer store fitting, and they’re fairly cheap. I didn’t want anything fancy, just something to play music – surely their site would see my right.

You’d have thought.

I chose a CD player very quickly, went through their system to see if it worked in my car and found I needed an adapter harness. No problem, thought I might. I added the items to the cart, went through to the payment screen and entered my card details, which failed…

There is of course nothing wrong with my card, so I tried again. This time I received an unfathomable error message:

CMN3101E The system is unavailable due to “CMN0412E”

Well useful. I tried again and received the same message.

I gave up – but after checking my phone realised I had received two confirmation text messages of the order, but no email confirmation. It looks as though I’ve ordered two, somehow. I emailed Halfords the following message:

I am trying to place an order on your website but I keep getting the following message:

CMN3101E The system is unavailable due to “CMN0412E”.

However, upon checking my phone I have now had TWO confirmation texts – but no emails. Has my order been received? The ref number in the text is #12131662 and the order value is £105.41 for a car CD player, adapter and store fitting in Cheadle.

I then get a standard response saying they’re having problems, blaming their IT department, and saying that the website would be working again by Thursday evening. They added that the order had not been received. So I replied, somewhat cheekily:

So – does this mean I still cannot order from your site? Do you recommend a competitor I could use?

They came back later today saying their site is working now and I can try again. OK, let’s have a go I thought. I did, my third attempt to order, and instead of processing the order with the 5% online discount I should have received two days ago, it went through to ‘collect and pay in store’, before displaying the following, really helpful error:

Generic Error

The store is currently experiencing problems. Try again later.

Try clicking here to return to the page you came from.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

As I’ve been entering my credit card details into this pigsty of a website I’m a little concerned to say the least. When you run an ecommerce website it’s imperative that your website instils trust in the customer. Halfords website does not, it just doesn’t work.

Chester City Council try to sting me on parking fine

Is my car cursed or what? The car that was stolen, crashed into and the subject of my ex-wife’s insurance fraud has now been hit with a £50 parking fine by Chester City Council, even though I couldn’t actually pay!

I went to Chester today to shop for shoes, and being a sized 12 it was very difficult (but I’ll rant about that another time). I entered the car park and parked at the bottom, next to the Pay Station. When I put a £2 coin in the machine, it came back out – together with another 2 £1 coins. I was £2 up already, result!

However I didn’t have a ticket, so I tried the £2 coin again. It came back out. Then I tried a £1 coin, and it came back out. I then made my way up to the other Pay Station in the car park (and by this time it was starting to snow heavily) where I tried both the £2 and £1 coins again. Same result; they came back out.

I went back to the first Pay Station, where my car was parked, to find a woman having the same problem. I told her that neither machine was working, and she couldn’t get a ticket either. I saw that some cars had tickets, but others didn’t. Assuming the machines were now full, I went into town to shop.

When I returned around 3 hours later I found I had been given a £50 fine for not displaying a ticket.

Obviously I’m not paying it. I tried to pay the £4.90 for 4 hours, but neither machine would take my money. No way am I paying a fine when the fault lies with the Pay Stations that didn’t work.

I’ll appeal this and let everyone know what happens. If I have to go to court I will. If they get away with this they have carte blanch to charge everyone £50 for parking there.

No doubt quite a few cars received fines today, which must strike them as unusual.

Divorce Update

It’s been a while since I talked about this, and I’m in a foul enough mood so I might as well bring it up now.

Throughout the last year and a bit I’ve been mentioning how my trouble with my now ex-wife has caused me no end of problems, including how she committed fraud on my car with Direct Line and how her family changed the locks in my house when I lived there.

Well, it was supposedly all sorted this January when the financial settlement was decided and I paid her a substantial amount of money for the house and the property contained within it. One of the conditions of the settlement was that I wouldn’t mention her, or her family on any website and I wouldn’t make any attempt to get Direct Line to compensate me for the error they made as that would encourage them to reclaim the £6,000 odd they paid her.

I was happy with that. The money I’ve lost out on as a result of paying for a car loan for 18 months while the car was unusable I should be able to get back from some of the furniture in the house I’d just paid for.

However… when I entered the house in January this year, she’d stolen more items from it. More items that I’d paid for, that were noted down on a list written by her, and was signed in a court. Among the items stolen by her and her parents was a full bedroom furniture set, including two wardrobes and a chest of drawers.

I couldn’t believe it. My attempts to get hold of her solicitor proved fruitless as he’d washed his hands of her and said I’d need to go through her. She was no longer receiving legal aid so he didn’t want to know. When I got hold of her father he said she needed the stuff to sell because she didn’t have any money.

I’d just given her £10,000 cash!

Unbelievable. Well, as she’s already broken the terms of the settlement, within a matter of days it has to be said, I consider it null and void. I will now be approaching the financial ombudsman to pursue Direct Line for the full amount that I believe they owe me, and if that means they have to get the money from her, then so be it.

What’s the point in making an agreement in court, in front of a judge, and paying someone a settlement if they’re just going to steal the items you’ve just paid for? The legal system in this country is fucked up.

Now I’ve annoyed the Gypsies

You may remember when my car was stolen from the Hillcroft garage in Langstone, Newport, I put up a post calling the garage ‘thieving gypsy bastards‘. It was a comical post highlighting my anger at the garage and how my car was stolen from them, with the keys, and their ‘end of year accounts’, making the whole thing look very suspicious.

Very suspicious indeed.

Well, I’ve now had a complaint for my use of the term ‘thieving gypsy bastards’, from the Thames Valley Gypsy Association. The complaint reads:

From: Joseph G. Jones []
Subject: Unpleasant remark

Please remove the term “Thieving gypsy bastards” from your website, as a community we find the term offensive.

If you wish to call the garage names feel free, but please leave us out of it.

Besides which it makes you seem like a racist.


Joseph G. Jones
Thames Valley Gypsy Association

Joseph found my website because I rank on the first page of Google for the term ‘Thieving Gypsy Bastards’. This site tends to rank for most phrases it uses, and will no doubt rank again for the term for this particular blog post.

However, as you can see while the original post does rank for ‘thieving gypsy bastards’ it doesn’t actually have a go at gypsies at all. It’s referencing the garage and the fact that my car was stolen from there. If I were to remove the post, my site would no longer rank for the term and more, anti-gypsy posts would rank in Google in its place.

Therefor, my post being there is helping.

Plus, the term ‘thieving gypsy bastards’ doesn’t reference gypsies at all, it’s a reference to a comic strip in Viz, which is infamous and even has its own Wikipedia page. An extract from the page reads:

The comic got in trouble with the United Nations after featuring a strip called ‘The Thieving Gypsy Bastards’; unbeknownst to the Viz editorial team at the time, Gypsies are regarded as a race under UK law and thus the comic was guilty of racism. During the resultant court case, UK newspaper The Sun ran a story revealing that the principal Roma man who initiated the action against them was in fact also being tried for, and was later found guilty of, handling stolen property.


GPS Tracking’s what I need

You may remember from my blog that my pride and joy, my car, was stolen in July 2006. I fought tooth and nail to get the thing back to the point it almost consumed me, and did consume this website; it’s a veritable homage to the quest.

If however when my car was stolen I’d actually had some form of tracking installed, like I’m considering now that I have it back, there wouldn’t have been an issue. GPS tracking is now inexpensive and a real solution to people like me who are obsessed with their cars.

Land Air Sea

LandAirSea Systems are a leading GPS tracking provider used by private, commercial and even government clients. This means they have the technology and the coverage to ensure that when my car next goes for a drive by itself that I’ll know where the sucker is.

One of the key benefits with this system is that it’s compatible with Google Earth:

The Data Can be downloaded and view in Google Earth simply by plugging the Tracking Key into the USB port of a computer

What I also like is the fact that the magnet used is so small it can be placed under your car seat, and it’s water resistant. Though of course if my car ends up in the sea, knowing where it is won’t help me much.

This YouTube video should help to show how incredible this product can be.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

I’m seriously considering this. If anyone so much as touches my car or even jokes about touching it after what happened I tend to attack them physically.