Tradesman fined £350 after DVLA mistake

A self-employed tradesman lost out on two days of earnings after a DVLA error saw his van impounded by the police.

The cabinet maker was also forced to shell out £64 on a new handbrake, and fork out another £100 to recover his van from the pound… despite having a fully taxed vehicle.

Database error

The cabinet maker - Dale Walker - was the victim of a DVLA database mishap, which incorrectly alerted Nottinghamshire Police that his van had been untaxed since 2014.

The DVLA accepted the blame for the mistake, adding that such glitches are ‘rare’, and swiftly apologised to the out-of-pocket tradesman.


On top of the financial implications, Walker, 56, said he felt ‘humiliated’, as the police officer refused to check his physical receipt that proved his vehicle was correctly taxed.

After ordering the van to be impounded, a police statement later explained the error: “The DVLA had provided incorrect information and the vehicle was, in fact, taxed.”

Papering over the cracks

Walker insisted physical evidence – such as the old style paper tax disc – would have avoided any confusion, saving him hundreds of pounds and two days worth of trade.

The DVLA scrapped the paper tax disc in October 2014 and many, including Walker, have criticised the system.

Old habits die hard

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a government organisation’s error has left a small business owner in trouble, as showed earlier this year: one scaffolder was found to owe an incredible £1 million, despite carrying a significantly smaller debt of £11,000. Luckily though the court sided with sole trader following the incident, and HMRC was reprimanded for its shoddy sums.

Have you been the victim of a government blunder? Let us know in the comments below!

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