Wheel Clamping on Private Land

AA advice to motorists

a clamped car

In May 2005, after more than 20 years campaigning by the AA a new law came into effect to stop the antics of criminal wheelclampers.

The Civil Courts in England have deemed that wheelclamping on private land is lawful, providing certain conditions relating to signing and the release fee are fulfilled.

Since May 2005 it has been an offence for anyone to wheelclamp or employ a wheelclamper who does not have a licence. Licences are issued by the Security Industry Authority.

Important Advice to Motorists

  • Don't take a risk and park on private land if you think it may be unwelcome
  • Look out for threatening signs
  • Don't be fooled into parking because someone says it is OK – make sure

If you are clamped

  • Don't damage or attempt to remove the clamp
  • Check for warning signs – take photographs if possible, take notes
  • Follow the instructions on the sign or notice applied to your car
  • Don't go for confrontation – the clamper may be working within the law
  • If you are threatened, intimidated or blackmailed call the police
  • When the clamper arrives ask to see the licence – note the details
  • If no licence is produced on request ask the clamper to remove the clamp – if the clamper refuses to remove the clamp call the police
  • If you see and are satisified with the licence, the release fee is reasonable (e.g.up to around £130) and the signs were clear you should pay up.

    A licensed clamper will provide a receipt.

    Afterwards check the clamper's details with the SIA on 08702 430100 or www.the-sia.org.uk – if there is any discrepancy inform the SIA
  • Remember a licensed clamper may still act unreasonably. Civil law has defined 'reasonable' as a release fee up to around £130 together with plenty of very noticeable, clear and unambiguous signs
  • Clampers can only be challenged in civil courts if the clamping is considered "unreasonable", you will need good evidence, but clampers are hard to challenge and even harder to get into court
  • You should report unreasonable action by licensed clampers to the SIA

Licensed clampers

  • Must not clamp blue badge holders or designated emergency service vehicles
  • Must issue receipts giving their licence details, the release fee and details of the location of the clamping

The police are obliged to investigate allegations of criminal behaviour but have many priorities - If you are clamped by an unlicensed clamper and the police are initially reluctant to help you should continue to press the matter with your local force. Raise it with the SIA too.

If you have been clamped by an unlicensed clamper we'd like to hear from you. Share your experience in the AA Zone

Join the discussion in the AA zone


24 March 2009