OAP's car crushed as punishment for small slip up

Are you at risk of making the same mistake? What should you do?

Seventy-year-old Jerome Lee was stunned when police had his car crushed because he had not realised he had to apply for a new driving licence when he reached his 70th birthday. He is pictured at his home in Oxted, Surrey. See copy INSlee.

Jerome Lee, a 70-year-old from Oxted in Surrey, has had his car crushed by police, because he couldn't get his licence renewed in the tiny window they allowed him.

Lee was driving in St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex, when he was stopped by police. They checked his licence, and informed him it was out of date. This was news to Lee, who didn't realise you need to get your licence renewed when you turn 70.

The Mirror reported that the police confiscated his car, and told him they'd hold onto it for up to 14 days - at a cost of £20 a day. They also said he'd be fined, and that three or six points would be put on his licence.

That was bad enough in itself, but that was just the start of it. Although he applied for a new licence from the DVLA immediately, it still hadn't arrived when the 14 days ran out, and to his horror, the police then crushed his car.

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In the intervening period he tried to arrange an alternative way to collect the car. He couldn't give it to his partner because the paperwork involved would take more than 14 days to complete. A friend was refused permission to pick the car up because they didn't have all the relevant documents (they needed their driving licence, a note of permission, and insurance documents). The compound owners wouldn't even allow a tow truck to pick the car up.

The police told the paper they stood by their decision, and it was up to the car owner to arrange a pick up within the deadline.

Is your licence valid?

It's a striking reminder of the possible extreme consequences if you let your driving licence expire. It's something we should all bear in mind, especially given that the DVLA estimates that 2 million motorists have an out-of-date licence.

Your licence expires every ten years up until the age of 70, and then every three years after that. It also becomes invalid if you haven't updated it after moving house or changing your name, and if you fail to update it with details of any medical condition.

Shockingly, fewer than one in three people with an expired licence are aware of it, and a further 10 million have no idea when their licence expires. It means that it's important to take the time to check the front of your plastic photo card, to ensure the details are correct - and find the date of expiry.

Renewing your licence is either free or costs £20 - depending on the kind of renewal you need.

It's a small price to pay to save you from a huge fine, points on your licence, and the risk of having your car crushed.

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