A man charged more than £100 for the privilege of having his stolen and burnt out scooter returned to him has said the police have added insult to injury.

The grey Piaggio scooter was taken last December after thieves broke into the garage at Ken Lavery's home, in Bounds Road, Darlington.

This week, police contacted Mr Lavery - a former policeman - to tell him the £1,000 vehicle, which had belonged to his 18-year-old son, had been found and removed to a garage in the town. Mr Lavery has now been charged £105 for the recovery of the vehicle and told that he will have to pay £5 for every day the wrecked scooter is kept in the garage.

The 59-year-old said he felt cheated by the charge from the recovery firm.

He said: "It's staggering that I should be fined for the recovery of a vehicle that was stolen from me. To me this is just another case of the rights of the victim being trampled on.

"The police called in this recovery firm to remove this vehicle and then charged me for the privilege of getting back a burnt out wreck. This may be police procedure but it seems totally against natural justice."

The police spokesman said the procedure for recovering vehicles was national policy and that the recovery charges were pre-set throughout the UK.

He said: "We have a duty to remove burnt-out vehicles from the street. In the past, the recovery of vehicles was carried out by the police but the cost in terms of revenue and time was too much."