An airport parking company has been accused of storing cars in country lanes and failing to return them to passengers.
A police investigation was launched after a ‘significant’ number of motorists were unable to retrieve their vehicles after returning to Bristol Airport.
Passengers claimed it took them several hours to find their cars after landing at the UK’s fifth-busiest airport outside London.
Many vehicles were left unattended in lay-bys or on rural land.
The firm, Absolutely Secure Airport Parking Bristol, did not respond to telephone calls and its website was not working on Monday.
Bristol Post got through to them and they said ‘I cant’ speak to you right now, I am trying to sort something out. Thank you, bye.’ The person who answered then hung up.
Royal Marine Lee Drinkwater, 44, from Exmouth, Devon, found his Mercedes C250 nine hours after returning to the airport on Friday.
He told the Press Association: ‘The vehicles were stored in lay-bys, farmers’ fields, down dirt tracks. They were not in secure locations as advertised.’
He added that up to 30 families were among those waiting for their cars on Friday.
‘They were cold, tried and hungry,’ he said.
A Bristol Airport spokesman said it was aware of ‘a number of passengers experiencing difficulties’ with an off-site parking provider and would ‘continue to provide assistance to passengers affected’.
He described the firm involved as ‘an independent business entirely unconnected with Bristol Airport’.
Passengers took to social media to express their anger at the situation.
A man using the Twitter name @CouchyY41 wrote: ‘I was part of this fiasco. We landed 4.30pm Friday 6th and had our car back 3.30pm Saturday 7th!
‘Prior to having it back, we had to travel back to Swansea and then back to Bristol! Then back to Swansea again once we had the car! Absolute chaos, what a mess!’
Kim Price-Harris wrote in a Facebook review: ‘Cars left in lay-bys or on farms covered in mud. They don’t even know where people’s cars are or their keys.
‘Lots of people left stranded at the airport.’
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘We’re aware of reports relating to an independent parking company offering valet services to Bristol Airport passengers.
‘A significant number of motorists have been unable to retrieve their vehicles from the company.
‘We’re investigating and are keeping an open mind as to whether any criminal offences have been committed.’