Clamping - AA campaign victory

From cowboys to outlawed criminals

9 February 2011

The first legislative steps to outlaw cowboy clampers on private land should be taken in Parliament this week when the Protection of Freedoms Bill gets its first reading this Thursday.

The AA has been at the forefront of the campaign to outlaw clamping for over a decade. Too many clampers have been acting like modern day highwaymen carrying out legalised mugging for too long. Many elderly and vulnerable people have been ripped off by these callous cowboys.

Clamping has been banned in Scotland since 1991 without problems.

Criminal offence

The Bill should ensure that it will become a criminal offence to clamp on private land which will incur sentences of up to £5,000 at a Magistrates Court or unlimited fines at the Crown Court.

Subject to parliamentary approval, The Home Office anticipates that the Bill will go on to gain Royal Assent by the end of 2011, with the ban coming into force as soon as possible after this.

Edmund king, AA President welcomes this as a major step in "transforming clampers from cowboys to outlawed criminals."

Case file

The AA clamping case study file shows:

  • Pensioners clamped after pulling up on scrap land to deliver a letter to the working men's club.
  • Lady clamped as she stopped for 5 minutes to pay a 15p fine on a library book. Ended up costing £390.
  • A mother in Doncaster who was clamped and the clampers threatened to take her 3 year old daughter hostage until she paid some extortionate amount in cash.
  • The hearse clamped with a body in the back.
  • The Good Samaritan helping a hit and run victim.
  • Clampers demanding sexual favours in lieu of a charge.
  • A marked police car which ended up with an ASBO for the clamper.
  • An an AA patrol attending a breakdown was clamped and charged over £1000

The AA has worked very hard over the last ten years to try to get a fair settlement on this issue.

The AA has always argued that motorists should not park where they like but believes that in the 21st Century there are more humane ways to regulate parking.

Partial licensing of clampers hasn't worked as it was used as a licence to print money so a ban is the only way out of this mess.

Watch where you park

One word of warning is that we are seeing evidence that some of the cowboys are increasing their clamping activity before the ban is introduced. So watch where you park.

The AA would also like to see restrictions on the companies that issue bogus tickets on private land so that these cowboys are also driven out of town.