'Council binned my great aunt's bible': Family heirloom dumped after lock-up cock-up

'Council binned my great aunt's bible': Family heirloom dumped after lock-up cock-up

'Council binned my great aunt's bible': Family heirloom dumped after lock-up cock-up

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter - 020 8722 6313

A Kingston man lost possessions including a generations-old family bible estimated to be more than 100 years old when a Kingston Council mix-up led to his lock-up shed being reassigned.

Analytical chemist Noel Gaffney said he felt robbed after discovering his possessions missing and getting only “terse” communication from the council.

Mr Gaffney, 45, of Cumberland House in Kingston Hill, said: “I was taking the recycling down and noticed that the door was open. It was entirely empty with the door open.

“When my other half came back from work I spoke to her – we tried the key in the lock and it didn’t work.

“The lock had been changed. I spoke to the estate office. They knew nothing about it.

“We couldn’t really get them to admit what had happened until we got the police to talk to them.”

Eventually the council confessed, he said. All that was left was an old artificial Christmas tree and his golf clubs.

Missing items after the February mix-up include a family bible which had originally belonged to his great aunt passed down through three generations, and his daughter’s college coursework and childhood toys.

Mr Gaffney, originally from Lincolnshire, added: “They had been put to one side for whatever reason and the rest of the stuff taken to the tip.

“I still feel we’ve been robbed. I haven’t dared inform the family yet [about the bible].”

Mr Gaffney said the council had twice sent out a questionnaire, which he had filled in, to find out who used which shed at the flats.

Richard Grosvenor, strategic business manager at Kingston Federation of Residents, said: “It’s appalling they have taken six weeks to respond to something as serious as that.

“I don’t think the apology is sufficient.

“There is an attitude in the estates department which is not healthy towards tenants. It’s something that the federation has been aware of for some time.”

Kingston Council said it had written to the family.

Comments (2)

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11:38am Mon 31 Mar 14

Dennis R says...

Prattish council ought to be charged with theft if Mister Gaffney was in legal possession of that storage space. But it will likely be put down to a computer glitch, or, "no names no pack drill."
Prattish council ought to be charged with theft if Mister Gaffney was in legal possession of that storage space. But it will likely be put down to a computer glitch, or, "no names no pack drill." Dennis R
  • Score: 0

4:04pm Mon 31 Mar 14

JPR says...

Civil servants are not notoriously known to be very courageous.
Civil servants are not notoriously known to be very courageous. JPR
  • Score: 0

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