Clamping on private land

End of the road for the cowboys as clampers to be outlawed in a fortnight after AA campaign

From October 1st it will become a criminal offence to clamp on private land as the Protection of Freedoms Act comes into force

From October 1st it will become a criminal offence to clamp on private land as the Protection of Freedoms Act comes into force

Cowboy clamping on private land will finally be outlawed in two weeks time, thanks to a concerted campaign by the AA.

From October 1st it will become a criminal offence to clamp on private land as the Protection of Freedoms Act* comes into force.

The AA has been monitoring the problems caused by wheel clamping on private land ever since the issue first arose in the late 1980’s.

Motoring groups have been campaigning on the issue ever since and Edmund King, AA president has taken a particular interest in the subject which has resulted in several documentaries and undercover news reports to expose the excesses**.

The AA Clamping Dossier contains thousands of horrific cases of clamping over the last twenty years

Top Ten

Edmund King’s Top Ten Worst Clamping Cases include:

  • Clampers threaten to take 3yr old girl hostage unless mother pays the clamp ransom in Doncaster.
  • Hearse clamped with body in the back on way to funeral
  • Clampers demand gold tooth from lady in lieu of payment
  • Clampers demand sexual favours in lieu of cash
  • Good Samaritan clamped after stopping to help hit and run victim
  • Female teenager left stranded overnight in Birmingham after clamper demands £300 for overstaying ticket by ten minutes after concert
  • Pensioners charged £390 when paying 15p fine on library book
  • Marked police car clamped and ended up with ASBO for clamper
  • Queen’s official protection guard clamped whilst on duty
  • AA patrol charged extortionate and record £1,180.75 whilst fixing lady’s car

The British Parking Association (BPA) has advised members not to clamp vehicles after the 16 September; however the AA still warns drivers that clamping will continue over the next fortnight as the BPA does not cover all clampers.

This campaign had become a personal crusade for me over the last decade. The outright ban on wheel clamping on private land is a victory for justice and common sense

Edmund King, AA president

Delighted

Edmund King, AA president said: “We are delighted that cowboy clampers will have to hang up their clamps in a fortnight. This campaign had become a personal crusade for me over the last decade. The outright ban on wheel clamping on private land is a victory for justice and common sense.

“We have been campaigning for a ban against this legalised mugging for many years.  Too many clampers have been acting like modern day highwaymen for too long. Many elderly and vulnerable people have been ripped off by these callous cowboys. Clamping has been banned in Scotland since 1992 without problems.

“We have advised numerous people over the years about what to do when clamped. There seemed to be a spate of Friday nights when I would get calls from pensioners who had been clamped.

“I just pulled up on scrap land to deliver a letter to the working men’s club and was clamped. They are demanding £350 but I don’t have the money”.

“I stopped for 5 minutes to pay a 15p fine on a library book and the clampers say I owe £390”.

Be vigilant over the next two weeks

We have noticed that some of the cowboys, drinking in the last chance saloon, are cashing in*** before they are finally outlawed so we advise drivers to be particularly vigilant over the next two weeks.

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

Bogus parking tickets

The AA also warns that many clampers will try to shift their business to bogus parking tickets on private land. An independent appeals service is due to be set up but the AA still has concerns about how effective this will be.

Clampers tactics

Some of the tactics of cowboy clampers have included:

  • Hide the signs with van
  • Use decoy vehicles to encourage parking
  • Target vulnerable people, old, disabled, women with children
  • Make up charges
  • Charge for supposedly calling tow truck or swearing
  • Refuse any form of appeal
  • Hide behind PO Box numbers and mobiles
  • Change name if court finds against them
  • Use heavies to scare drivers
  • Don’t clamp single car as will be deterrent. Clamp row at a time
  • Pay landowner commission to allow clamping
  • Clamp on land without permission of land owner

(17 September 2012)

*The Protection of Freedoms Act comes into force on 1 October 2012

Clamping has not been banned in all circumstances. The clamping ban will apply on all private land in England and Wales unless there is some other ‘lawful authority’ in place which allows clamping and or removal of vehicles. This includes some private land which belongs to local authorities, some railway or airport car parks. Clamping and towing away on private land has been banned in Scotland since 1992. In Northern Ireland the ban will not apply.

** ITV Tonight Carry on Clamping

*** Some recent clamping cases include:

Basildon Recorder - Laindon, Essex

Southend Standard - Laindon, Essex

The News, Portsmouth - Cosham car park

Birmingham Mail - Clamper claims ticketing will make him more money