A FLEET resident has won an exhausting battle to have a dumped car removed from near his home.

Stephen Sparrow thought it would take only a phone call to Hart Council for the vandalised Chrysler Voyager to be towed away.

Instead, to his amazement, he had to badger the council for almost six months before it would agree to remove the vehicle from a lay-by in Tavistock Road.

Mr Sparrow, who lives in nearby Copse End, said this week: "I couldn't believe the length of time it took the council took to act.

"They came up with a lot of stupid rules which they said prevented them from taking it away."

The R-reg car, which was untaxed, was abandoned by one of his neighbours who had moved away.

Within a short time the vehicles windows had been smashed and children were playing inside it.

In addition to the vehicle being an eyesore, Mr Sparrow was worried that the youngsters would injure themselves on the glass splinters.

But when he complained to the council, he was given six reasons why the car had to stay put.

Phil Whiting, the council's direct services manager, said in a letter written in August: "You will appreciate that the council must act within the law and respect private property."

He added: "I have arranged for one of the street sweepers to visit the area and clear any glass which may be a danger."

Refusing to be put off by the red tape, Mr Sparrow's complaint finally reached the desk of council chief executive, Miss Jules Samuels, and that did the trick.

He discussed the problem with her - and two days later the car was gone.