The owner of an old fire engine which had sat on North Parade in Falmouth for years finally moved it last Wednesday - without stopping to remove a clamp.

Old vehicle enthusiast Adam Levy said chains flew everywhere and the clamp made lots of noise as he drove the engine through town, and has now asked who he should return the device to.

The former museum piece was one of nine vehicles caught by clampers working on behalf of the DVLA as part of a sweep of the area on Wednesday morning, as it was not carrying a valid tax disc.

Mr Levy - who has always maintained that as a fire engine his vehicle does not require an MOT and falls into the nil tax class - visited several times during the day to check it over. By the afternoon it had moved its own length on the road, and by the next morning it had disappeared completely.

He told the Packet: "The clamp they put on it was a really bad idea because driving it through the middle of Falmouth... the amount of noise it made... there was chains and things flying everywhere."

The Packet reported in 2013 that the fire engine had been parked on the road near Falmouth Wharves for at least a year, with residents complaining that it looked shabby and had a flat tyre, but there was nothing that could be done as it was taxed and not classed as abandoned.

At that time Mr Levy replaced the tyre, but he said last week that he had not moved the engine before as every time he went near it "I just got so much grief over it I was going to leave it a while longer."

He added: "We've got an apartheid on working people these days. People don't want vans parked near their houses, they devalue them."

"These days there's no room for this sort of thing."

The engine has been taken to a yard in Falmouth for repairs to be carried out, and then Mr Levy said it will be taken to Port Navas, where he already has another fire engine - a fully restored Austin Gypsy - and a motorcycle and sidecar which was built for Pinewood Studios.

In a second conversation with the Packet, he said: "We would like to know who the wheel clamp belongs to so we could return it to them."

A spokesperson for the DVLA said even if a vehicle falls within the nil tax class, tax still needs to be applied for, and according to their records the fire engine was untaxed.

However Mr Levy claimed that when he was gone to arrange his tax the class had changed, and that was why he had refused to pay, choosing instead to move the vehicle elsewhere.

The spokesperson also confirmed that it is an offence to drive a vehicle with a clamp still attached, while admitting that it was an unusual case as normally it would be immobilised.

It costs £100 to get a vehicle released, and it must be taxed or have a surety paid before it can be released, or after 24 hours the it will be impounded. If the vehicle is not claimed after two weeks it will be disposed of.

A Cornwall Council spokesperson said: "The abandoned vehicle in question has been reported to Cornwall Council many times over the past six years and officers from the Cornwall Council Public Protection team have investigated on numerous occasions. Until June 2014 the vehicle had been taxed and the owner had been responding to contact from officers advising that they had plans for the vehicle and so officers were unable to take further action.

"Community and Environmental Enforcement Officers continued to investigate the situation and attempts were made to contact the owner about the vehicle. The officers then reported the matter to the DVLA and were in a position to remove the vehicle this week had the DVLA not decided to do so."