Curtains for "Cowboy" Clampers

Government to ban practice outright


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It has been reported that wheel-clamping on private land by “cowboy” clampers is to be banned. The clamper firms have been a major headache for some local motorists who have complained about inadequate signage and disproportionate fees to remove clamps.

Ministers are expected to make an announcement about this today. Lynne Featherstone, the Home Office Minister, will say that the rules in England and Wales should be brought into line with those in Scotland, where clamping on private land was banned after a judge said it amounted to “extortion” and “theft”.

More than 2,000 existing clamping licences will be revoked under the plans for England and Wales, with towing away also outlawed, as ministers act to end the "scourge" of so-called cowboy clampers.

Removing cars parked without permission on private land, which can cost owners up to £400 to release, is said to be worth £1billion a year for the “cowboy” clamper firms. Ms Featherstone said: “I am delighted that our Government have made the decision to ban it outright.”

She said the proposals to ban clamping on private land, such as company or supermarket car parks, would be included in a new Freedom Bill to be introduced in November.

Landowners who want to protect their land should erect barriers, she added, and Police would still have the right to remove vehicles.AA president Edmund King said: "An outright ban on wheelclamping 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 1991 without problems. We 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."

Under current rules, wheel clampers must hold a frontline licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA), with supervisors or directors holding a non-frontline licence.

August 17, 2010