An angry couple are demanding answers after a garage they were renting from the council has been emptied of precious family items.
Katy Brooks, 27 and her partner Christopher Walker, 34 are ‘disgusted’ that no one is owning up and telling them what has happened to the valuables in the garage.
Mr Walker bought a flat above a shop in Croft Road, Luton in 2009 and used the garage behind the shop, which he assumed came with the flat.
Luton Borough Council told him in December last year that it owned the garages and he would have to start paying rent.
He said: “When I got the property, the garages were derelict and being vandalised by kids, so I cleaned one of them up and began using it.
“I was told by the council that our stuff would be safe and we could continue to use it but would have to pay rent, this was sorted in February.
The couple, who are expecting a baby at the end of July, used the garage to store a new cot, a travel system, family heirlooms, car parts, tools, photos and souvenirs.
Ms Brooks said: “At the end of February we found the locks had been changed, we contacted the council and they said they had not changed the locks.
“I am disgusted as the only thing we are being told is the council have no record and no-one’s admitting it, I want my things back, photos, dancing trophies, my deceased son’s birth certificate, my parents wedding photos, these are all irreplaceable, I am distraught that all my memories are gone.”
A neighbour witnessing the garages being cleaned claimed: ”I saw the council at the garage, they had cleared out the first garage and had a truck full of stuff, they were clearing out the second when I was there and I assume they then moved on to the third one.”
Mr Walker said: “I am disgusted about what has happened, you think you can trust the council and they have let me down in a big way.
“I lost a lot of money and have had to replace a lot, but my partner has lost all her memories and photos, those things are irreplaceable.”
A spokesperson for the council said: ”As is the case with all garage sites, the council cannot take responsibility for the loss or damage to any items stored in the garage, and this is in the tenancy agreement. This is why we encourage all of our tenants to take out contents insurance.
“It is very unfortunate if someone has entered and cleared the garage and we’ve advised the tenant to make contact with the police and his insurance company, as it is not within our power to do anything else.
“We have made it clear to the tenant that we have not changed the locks since November 2013 (two months before the tenancy agreement was signed) and it was not us that cleared the contents from the garage.”
The mum-to-be said: “The council suggested it might be theft, what kind of a thief breaks into a garage, completely clears it, sweeps up after themselves, changes the locks and then puts the new key in the tenancy management department at the local council, it’s ludicrous!
“The buck lies with them, we pay rent to them, they hold the new key that opens the garage not us, they are responsible and should therefore compensate us for things that can be replaced or better still locate and return our things.”