Police have been criticised for finding a stolen car only to let it go missing again.
Alastair Roy was swimming with his granddaughter at Brentford Fountain leisure centre, in Chiswick High Road, on October 20 when a thief emptied his locker.
As well as taking all his clothes and wallet, the crook made off with his Alfa Romeo Sports Wagon, which was parked outside.
Mr Roy reported the incident to police but had given up hope of seeing his treasured car again until he received a call on Saturday, November 8 to say it had been found in Willesden.
He says the officer assured him she would pass on the details to his insurers, who had purchased the stolen car from him when settling his claim, so it could be recovered.
But when he rang his insurers the following Monday they said they had not been contacted by police and they asked him for the location, which he duly passed on. When a recovery firm turned up the next day, the car had vanished.
Mr Roy says he emailed the officer in charge three times to find out what had happened but received no response, leaving him utterly baffled as to what was going on.
Police eventually contacted him to say the car had turned up at a car pound in Ealing last Monday (November 17), but they were unable to tell him how it had ended up there.
The semi-retired builder said he couldn't understand why it had not been taken into custody by police in the first place - especially given it was found with false number plates.
"It's ridiculous the car wasn't taken to a pound as soon as it was found by police. It should never have been left on the street with false number plates, as it could have been used in another crime," he added.
"What's worse is that I had to wait more than a week to find out from police what had happened to my car and what was being done to track it down again."
Police said Mr Roy had declined to sign up for its vehicle recovery service, under which stolen cars are removed from the streets and stored securely when found.
However, he insists officers had told him the car would be taken into a pound if it was discovered, regardless of whether he signed up, and that the scheme only covered the cost of transporting it from there to his home in Worthing.
Recovered cars used to be kept at police stations until they were reclaimed by their owners but it is understood this stopped due to the shortage of space and the number of owners who never showed up.
The recovery scheme covers the costs incurred by police in removing recovered cars from the streets. The charge can usually be reclaimed by owners on their insurance.