Seeing something you own completely gutted by fire is an awful experience that I wouldn?t wish on anybody.
Seeing something you own completely gutted by fire is an awful experience that I wouldn?t wish on anybody.

I?ve had better days

By JENI FAULKNER

PEOPLE always say you will never forget your first car.

It doesn't matter what model it is, or even its condition, because the kilometres clocked up are always the best, not to mention the memories.

But, after spending eight years driving a 1982 Ford Laser, I have finally had to say goodbye to my first car, unfortunately though, this was not my choice.

My car was stolen at the weekend from the car park next to the Advocate in Elbow Street, later discovered by the Coffs Harbour police gutted by fire in bushland at the jetty foreshores.

Every week the Coffs Coast Advocate reports on stolen vehicles, but never do we offer the personal story from someone who innocently lost their car which was not insured.

This car park is notorious for smashed windscreens, vandalism and petty thefts, but rarely has one been stolen as, usually, the culprits are looking for something of value.

My Laser was not worth a lot in monetary terms but it was extremely reliable. As the years ticked by there was no point in insuring it for anything more than third party property, which means today I am left with nothing.

Each year when it was time for registration I couldn't bring myself to trade-in my Laser.

I didn't want to give it to a wreckers, and I most certainly would never receive enough money to compensate for it.

In some way the recent events could be seen as a good thing, now I have an excuse to buy my first 'real' car. But, on the other hand, it is also an awful feeling to be violated in the city you call home.

I was 19-years-old when my parents gave me this car, I was at university which was 1200km away so the gift, at the time, was a godsend.

Seeing something you own destroyed and converted into a charged mess is the most unbelievable experience and I pity anyone who has experienced something similar.

The acting sergeant from the Intelligence Office of the Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command, Cliff Lloyd, said each year police were working closer towards catching car thiefs.

"Last year 358 vehicles were stolen in the area. From these 268 were recovered while 90 are still outstanding," Sgt Lloyd said.

"The Local Area Command is ranked on par for the State average for recovering stolen vehicles.

"Of the 268 recovered last year 85 per cent were located within our area command."

In total 40 stolen vehicles last year were damaged by fire while five were stripped. More encouragingly though, 107 were found intact.

If anyone has any information regarding stolen vehicles please phone the Coffs Harbour police on 6652 0299.



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