A Good Samaritan who stopped to help at a road accident was shocked when he received a £1000 bill for damages.
Paul Hughes was even more stunned because the collision occurred four years ago!
But he began to worry when he realised the small claims summons had been issued on behalf of the local authority which was trying to get the cash back for damage to a road sign.
The 35-year-old had been driving past Falkirk Stadium on July 12, 2007, when he spotted an accident and stopped to see if he could help.
He said: “There was a Porsche on its side and it looked nasty, so I pulled up. I knew the guy who was driving and amazingly, he was okay. There was damage to the car and the road sign but thankfully he was uninjured.
“The police came along to take details and I never thought any more about it until a few weeks ago.”
On his return from holiday in Fuerteventura he found a bill for £1000 in the mail together with a summons to appear at Falkirk Sheriff Court later this month if he doesn’t pay up.
Paul, who manages his father’s firm, WH Tyres in Bonnybridge, said he had to make lots of frantic phone calls to both the council and Central Scotland Police to prove he was not the driver of the car, but had only been a witness who turned up after the incident took place.
He added: “I couldn’t believe that four years after the accident they’re only now trying to get the money back, but my lawyer said they had up to five years to recover the costs.”
Paul, of Glasgow Road, Longcroft, has now received letters of apologies from both the police and council.
He said: “I’m still waiting to hear how this happened in the first place. Nobody has been able to give me that answer. It was really stressful until it was all cleared up.”
Falkirk Council is laying the blame squarely with the police and said it was an “error” on the force’s part.
A spokeswoman for Falkirk Council said: “The court action was raised to recover the cost of damage to a road sign caused by a car. Mr Hughes was pursued as he was named as the driver in a report provided by Central Scotland Police.
“When Mr Hughes contacted us to say that the was not the driver, this was investigated further with the police. They confirmed that he had been named as the driver in error when he was, in fact, a witness.
“The council has written to Mr Hughes to advise him how the situation arose, to confirm that no further action will be taken and to offer our apologies.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Central Scotland Police said: “This problem came to our attention last week and it was immediately rectified. We notified Falkirk Council which is seeking to trace the correct person.
“We have apologised to Mr Hughes and no further action will be taken against him.”