When bungling thieves tried to steal Ceri Wood's car she shrugged the incident off.
But the 27-year-old web designer from Horsforth burst into tears when police said she would have pay out after her ageing Nissan Micra was taken away to aid their investigation.
She faced a bill of 230 to get her 16-year-old banger - worth around 400 - back from police. Instead she paid a 75 fee to get the car scrapped.
Her troubles started last Thursday night when raiders broke into her car in Bachelor Lane, Horsforth.
Miss Wood said would-be thieves rolled it to a driveway two doors away, before smashing the ignition cover but failing to start the engine.
The next morning police arrived and told her the car would have to be towed away for fingerprints to be taken.
She said: "The policeman never said I would have to pay a release fee. Then a letter arrived from police on Saturday saying I will be required to pay a statutory removal charge plus daily storage charges."
"I wasn't upset about someone trying to steal my car because stuff like that happens. But when I got the police letter I just burst into tears, it was so out of the blue. Why should I have to pay to get my own car back when I'm the victim of a crime? I wasn't even given the option to move it back home."
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "It is force policy to recover stolen vehicles for forensic examination. The charges for recovery and storage are levied at nationally agreed rates and it is normal for vehicle owners to recover these costs from their insurance company.
"It must be recognised that if West Yorkshire Police was to routinely fund the recovery of vehicles, this would either need additional funding from ratepayers or significant savings elsewhere in the overall budget."