Retired UK Copper stumbles across his old patrol car from the 1970s at a classic car show

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Retired UK Copper stumbles across his old patrol car from the 1970s at a classic car show

A retired UK policeman has stumbled across the patrol car he drove when he was an officer in the 1970s at a classic car show.

Gareth Owen, 58, spotted his former blue and white Leyland Mini 850 patrol car when he went to a classic car show at the Birmingham NEC.

To his great surprise, among the 3,000 vehicles on display, he was able to spot his old police minivan. Mr Owen is an avid motoring enthusiast and he was able to give a little of the background story. He said:

"North Wales Police took delivery of a lot of the vans in 1978 when I was stationed in Holywell and all their numbers started with BMA.

"I remembered the number - BMA766S - because the number of one of the officers who drove it, Will Hay, was 766."

blue and white Leyland Mini 850 police patrol van

The retired police officer is from Trelogan in Flintshire, North Wales left the force in 2007 but he distinctly remembered he drove the van in the early days of his career. He also added that the van was still in service at the Holywell station in 1980 at which time he transferred out of that station to another.

The ex cop was wandering the dozens of stands with his daughter Siwan when he saw the old car.

“It was amazing to come across it and I recognised it straight away. I couldn't believe the coincidence,”

The current owner found the police van in a terrible condition in Stockton-on-Tees in 2010. It had the wrong engine and faulty wiring which caused it to catch fire and breaking down as he drove it home.

The owner of the van later restored it to its former glory after installing the correct 850cc engine and all the accurate police fittings and accessories. Mr Owen added: "I couldn't believe it after all these years."


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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