A FATHER-OF-ONE called the police to report his car had been stolen while he was attending a gig, only to find he had simply forgotten where he had parked it.

Neil Nam from Portslade went to see The Lovely Eggs at The Haunt in Pool Valley, Brighton with his partner, Marion Tipler, and parked the car opposite the Royal Albion Hotel in Old Steine on Saturday night.

When the gig finished Neil, a couple of pints down, and Marion, who was designated driver and completely sober, went to look for their car in the bay-parking spaces outside the YHA Brighton Hostel in Old Steine, about 250 ft from where their car actually was.

In a panic, the couple were convinced the red Citroen Berlingo, which had a blue badge in it for their son Joseph who has learning difficulties, had been stolen, so they paid a £12 fare for a taxi to rush home and report the “theft”.

Neil spent almost an hour on the phone to the police in the early hours of the morning who told him there was little they could do about a stolen car and the case was closed immediately to which Neil was later grateful for otherwise he would have been “a serious waste of the police’s time”.

Neil vented his frustration all over Facebook, warning people and cursing the supposed suspects.

His friend Emma Sutherland messaged him saying: “I hope you get it back OK” to which Neil replied: “Thanks, last time a car of mine was nicked they found it 100 yards down the road. But sadly not this time, it’s gone”, “we won’t see it again” and “half a tank of fuel in it. It’s miles away by now”.

Luckily for the couple, their friend Francesca who had seen Neil’s Facebook status, was out on an early morning run and spotted the “distinctive” red Berlingo parked opposite the Royal Albion Hotel in Old Steine.

Failing to get through to Neil on the phone, she went to pick him up yesterday morning and took him to the car where he had left it parked all along.

Neil said: “While I was in the car with Francesca I was still convinced it had been stolen and that she had confused my car for someone else’s.

“Even when we got to the car, which was definitely mine, I was convinced some thieves moved it from the space outside the YHA hostel to the space opposite the hotel.

Neil’s friend, Peter Wood said: “I think it was stolen but when they saw what it was in daylight they decided to put it back.”

Once the car had been “found”, Neil published a shame-faced apology on Facebook saying “lesson learned” and “ridicule graciously accepted”.

Despite now being known as the “two idiots and a car”, the couple are relieved to have their car back which, although “not worth a lot”, is a huge help for their son Joseph who is in a wheelchair.

Neil said: “We may have become a bit of a laughing stock on the internet but there’s no harm in making people smile.”