AN abandoned car spotted in Fleet Bay on Tuesday will not be left there to rot despite officials having failed to trace the owner and have it immediately removed.
The Vauxhall Frontera emerged from the shore of the Solway’s Fleet Valley National Scenic Area between Sandgreen and Cardoness at low tide but left no clues as to its owner or how it got there.
If all avenues of investigation fail to turn up the owner, Dumfries and Galloway Council will take steps to have it pulled from the seabed where it lies at the mouth of the River Fleet.
A spokesman said that the council will carry out a search for the owner and that as long as the car remains in the bay and doesn’t float out to see and become a shipping hazard, and therefore a coastguard issue, the eventual responsibility will lie with the authority to remove it.
But he added that this would be the very last straw and that the environmental standards team will continue investigations to trace its keeper.
It is not known whether illegal cocklers are to blame, as an unclassified cockle bed lies nearby.
The fire service say their involvement has ended and that specialist outside equipment would be required to remove the car at great cost.
The 4X4 was first spotted by a nearby resident just off the popular holiday spot of Sandgreen Bay and emergency services were immediately called.
A fire service spokesman told The Gazette following a failed retrieval operation during low tide on Wednesday that there was little more they could do now.
He said: “We were contacted by police to assist with the abandoned car and used specialist underwater rescue equipment to check there was no-one inside, and to retrieve any registration numbers available.
“There were no people in the vehicle and following discussion, we decided to follow a precedent which has been set elsewhere in these situations and leave it to the police to take it from here.”
He added that the fire service’s job was carried out as an emergency response team, and that it is not the job of the brigade to use resources for the removal of abandoned vehicles in locations like this.
He added: “It’s now up to the police to ensure any public safety measures are put in place because there will be people who go to have a look and this is a popular summertime swimming spot. What these measures will be, I couldn’t say.”
A Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) spokesman told us that their team had not declared the car an environmental hazard and had not been involved.