A shocked homeowner woke up to discover a stranger’s car parked on her driveway, before calling the police and finding out the law was not on her side. Natalie Robbins of Kingston upon Hull took a photo of the Vauxhall Zafira and uploaded it to Facebook asking: “Does anybody know whose car this is? Been parked on my drive since last night. Police have been informed.”
Police informed her that parking on someone else’s drive is actually not illegal. The reason is that the ‘offence’ is considered trespass, which is a civil, not a criminal matter. They explained that she was within her rights to move the vehicle, but must take care not to damage the vehicle in any way as this would, in fact, make her liable for causing criminal damage.
Natalie later stated that the vehicle had been towed from the drive, although it is not known if it has been claimed by its owner yet.
Commenters on Facebook said: “Can only guess they have left it thinking it’s a friends house or something.”
Another added: “Some people are unbelievable”.
What makes trespass a criminal matter
According to the House of Commons website, trespass only becomes a criminal matter if the trespasser has:
- damaged the land
- used threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour to the occupier, his family, employees or agents
- six or more vehicles on the land.
Without any of the above, the matter is considered a civil case and the onus is on the landowner to rectify the situation. Time to invest in some gates?