In this week’s most tedious Arthur Conan Doyle mystery, councillors playing the roles of Holmes and Watson were called upon to help solve the case of Watford’s vanishing cars.

These mysterious disappearances, it was eventually discovered, were found not to be the result of some macabre, supernatural force, as it may have been hoped in some quarters.

No, instead it was simply a case of a council contractor poorly planning a job that caused the seemingly spooky happening.

Earlier this week, residents in Brighton Road were told that they would have to move their cars by Tuesday morning to enable road resurfacing works to take place.

But somewhere down the line, a communication breakdown occurred and the contractors arrived on Monday morning – a day early – to find that, surprisingly, none of the residents had obeyed their instructions.

Like a modern day Houdini, Kiely Bros were in and out like a flash, moving any vehicles left blocking the road with the help of its beautiful assistant: a tow truck.

Unlike Houdini though, residents were far from impressed with the trick, demanding an apology from both Hertfordshire County Council and its bungling sidekick Kiely.

And these apologies were readily forthcoming, with some reports even claiming the contractors had knocked on people’s front doors, chocolates in arm, pleading for forgiveness.

Although it is easy to make light of the situation with no serious damage caused, the fact that Kiely has made similar errors in the past is no laughing matter.

Herts County Council has promised an urgent meeting with Kiely, but more than a stern word may be required to make sure it doesn’t happen again.