A family has told how they paid £160 for secure parking at Heathrow Airport and yet returned to find the catalytic converter stolen which means the car is likely to be written off.
Oliver and Amy Clague from St George, Bristol, flew back to the UK with their one-year-old child, tired after a long haul flight but they were unable to use their car.
They complained to staff at Heathrow after finding the catalytic converter had been stolen from the car, but claim they were told there was little that could be done to help, reported BristolLive.
The couple had forked out £160 to park at the secure location, and said they picked it over cheaper alternatives nearby because they believed it was safer.
Oliver, a TV director, said: "We came back from this long-haul flight, no sleep with our baby on our lap, only to find that our car is unsafe to drive because Heathrow can't keep track of who enters their parking facilities.
"You get 20 mins free in there, and to rip out a Catalytic converter - which can be worth thousands because of the platinum and rare minerals inside it - takes less than three minutes to do. Some cars you don't even need a jack."
The 39-year-old added: "So if Heathrow don't monitor who goes in and out, or can't adequately patrol the area, then you have this bonkers car parts bonanza at Heathrow.
"The parking attendant told me that after Covid layoffs, they just couldn't get the staff back, or didn't try. They were all laid off when people stopped flying, and not many of them came back."
Heathrow has now reportedly offered the family a refund of the £160.
"Owing to the high cost of replacing a catalytic converter, it seems likely that our car is going to be written off by insurance, leaving us with no option but to buy a new car," Oliver said.
"I just want other people to be aware of this. We thought we were parking our car in a safe, secure storage facility, and it turned out to be nothing of the sort."
On Heathrow's website they advertise their car parking as being '"safe and secure".