A man who struggles to walk more than a few metres says he was forced to sleep in his car in a council compound after it was seized.
Richard Wise, 56, had been on a makeshift roadside camp at West Newton where campaigners are protesting against Rathlin’s controversial drilling site.
East Riding Council carried out an eviction of the camp on Monday, February 25, citing that it was necessary on safety grounds. As a result, Mr Wise, of Darlington, County Durham, had his car and caravan seized and taken to a compound.
But because Mr Wise, is registered disabled and is unable to walk more than a few metres without becoming breathless, relies on his car to get about and lives in his caravan, he says he was forced to sleep in the back of the car on a compound until they returned him the keys.
An East Riding Council spokesman said they removed the vehicles from the camp because they posed a danger to road users.
Mr Wise said the authority’s decision “took (his) legs away.” He said: “I told police that they could not take my car. My car is my freedom. They basically took my legs away.”
“They also took away my home because they seized the caravan I was living in.”
Mr Wise said after taking legal advice, he paid the £300 charge to release his vehicles on Tuesday morning, February 26. But he says he didn’t receive the keys until the following day.
What East Riding Council says
A spokesperson at ERYC said: “On Monday (25 February), the council took appropriate action to remove all caravans, tents, wooden huts and other items from an encampment at Fosham Road – a narrow, unclassified road with no road markings that is used regularly by farm machinery and heavy goods vehicles.
“Cars and caravans parked on the sides of narrow roads cause obstructions and visibility issues for drivers and therefore increase the danger of accidents.
“It was because of these serious road safety concerns and the priority that the council places on the safety of road users together with the safety of individuals at the encampment that action was taken using the emergency procedure contained in section 149(2) of the Highways Act 1980.
“As part of the operation, a car was removed and the council has since returned this to the owner.