DARRAN Brown and his wife Julie needed somewhere to store family heirlooms and other treasures when their home got a bit cluttered.

They rented a garage from Sanctuary Housing and, really, that should have been that. But something went wrong and some of the family’s most cherished belongings ended up in a dump.

It is a tale that will leave many people scratching their heads – and it certainly left the Browns baffled and upset.

They fear Swarovski crystals worth thousands of pounds are gone for good, along with things like albums of family photos from holidays abroad.

Whatever their value, all the items were important to the family and, clearly, they had no reason to think they would lose them in such circumstances.

Sanctuary has not sought to deflect blame and has admitted that there was a “misunderstanding”. How much comfort this will be to the family is not clear.

What this incident shows is how easily things we hold dear can be taken away.

It also highlights the absurd, Kafkaesque nature of bureaucracy – which can lead to a family’s property being dumped because of an apparent internal error.

Mistakes happen, but these are people’s memories and Sanctuary need to come up with a clear explanation of what happened and – if the crystals really are lost – compensate the Browns.