Odd Acting Vehicles in Stockton, Northeast England

The truth is out there! Or at least a group of baffled drivers hope it is following a morning of motoring mystery in Stockton.

Residents on Leam Lane, Bishopsgarth, woke last Wednesday to find their cars’ electrical systems behaving oddly.

And confused driver Daniel Joyce contacted the Gazette in the hope we would get to the bottom of the problem. “It was early in the morning and a lot of people were having problems starting their cars,” said Daniel, 21, who drives a Citroen Saxo.

“The central locking wouldn’t work on mine so I opened it manually but then the engine wouldn’t start.

“I ended up pushing it around the corner and as soon as I got it away from the street it would work.”

The puzzling problem is believed to have been caused by some form of radio, electric or satellite signal interfering or blocking the signal that some car keys send to the engine. Each key emits different frequencies, explaining why cars on the street were affected in different ways.

Daniel added: “It’s a bit of a strange one but it’s cost people money for tow trucks and if it’s going to happen regularly it could be a problem.”

Other drivers on the street were also affected, including Bernard Dambrosil, whose Land Rover alarm began wailing at about 6am.

He said: “I opened the car door and the alarm went off. Then I couldn’t start the car so I had to call a tow van. It’s been checked over but there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Neighbor Geoff Saysell says his Hyundai Accent was also affected by the puzzling problem.

The 53-year-old said: “The central locking on my car wouldn’t work so I had to open the door manually. The alarm went off so I had to get under the bonnet and physically disconnect it. I work at Wilton and when I got there the locking worked fine.”

And it wasn’t just cars which were affected. Val Nixon had problems when she tried to open up her newsagent’s. Val told the Gazette: “The remote wouldn’t work for my shutters - they wouldn’t go up or down.

“I had to call out an engineer and I’m expecting a bill of up to about £300. I didn’t know about the car problems until two days later.”

Some believe the problem could be connected to a change in satellites at the University Hospital of North Tees. But NHS Trust spokeswoman Claire Young denied they were the cause.

She said: “It sounds like a mystery. Obviously we need to be careful with these things ourselves because we have a lot of sensitive equipment.”

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