Tow firm off police roster after speed row

By Amelia Wade

A Nissan Silvia similar to the impounded car. Photo / Supplied
A Nissan Silvia similar to the impounded car. Photo / Supplied

A tow firm which impounded cars on behalf of the police has had its contract with the force suspended and vehicles are to be removed from its yard.

Police began investigating East City Towing last week after allegations the company took a car on a joyride after impounding it for boy-racing.

The company yesterday continued to deny that the car was driven at high speeds while in its possession.

Early on the Sunday before last a woman's $12,000 Nissan Silvia was towed from Mt Wellington by East City Towing and taken to its Pakuranga Heights yard, the Herald revealed last week.

When the woman, who wanted to be known only as Nicky, checked her Snitch GPS tracker system after getting to work on the Monday she was shocked by what she saw.

The records showed her car was taken out of the tow firm's Pakuranga Heights impound lot in Cascade Rd at 2.30am - not long after it arrived.

It was driven around Ben Lomond Cres, reaching speeds of more than 100km/h, then returned to the lot before being driven further up Cascade Rd where it again reached more than 100km/h, according to the Snitch report given to the Herald.

Nicky's car reached 113km/h in the 2.7km it travelled. Ben Lomond Cres is a 50km/h zone and the Cascade Rd stretch driven that night is 60km/h.

Snitch director Jeremy Mclean said the speed and movement data was "100 per cent accurate".

Police began their investigation into the towing company last Wednesday after Nicky's complaint.

Her car was removed from East City Towing's premises that day.

Detective Inspector Mark Gutry said police were "in the process" of removing about 20 cars from East City Towing and were taking them to the Southern Districts Towing.

The firm has also been taken off the police's on-call towing roster, which allowed East City Towing to impound cars for the police, until further notice.

Mr Gutry said he could not give details on the results of the investigation until police had spoken to the company's owner, Mike Holliday.

"We still haven't been able to track him down," he said yesterday.

East City Towing was one of many Auckland towing companies which are on the on-call roster. East City had been on the roster for 12 years.

A spokeswoman, who gave her name only as Emma, said the towing company contested the speeds shown on the Snitch report.

She said the Herald had gone out of its way "to destroy our company". Emma would not comment further.

At the time, she denied that the car had been taken for a joyride.

She said it was on the back of the towtruck when the truck driver noticed a figure "appear from behind our jumbo bin who then ran across our driveway towards a vehicle that was parked on the neighbouring property with its lights off. This vehicle then sped off with no lights on".

He chased the vehicle in his truck, with the Silvia still on board and the ignition on, but lost sight of it and returned to the yard.

"The truck was then driven into our yard behind two security gates and parked up with the vehicle still on the back of the truck."

Nicky said yesterday that she was pleased the company had been taken off the police roster and that cars were due to be removed from its yard.

The maximum fine for exceeding the speed limit by up to 50km/h is $630. If more than 40km/h above the limit, the driver's licence can be suspended for 28 days. Exceeding the limit by over 50km/h can bring a charge of careless, reckless or dangerous driving.

- NZ Herald

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