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Warning over rogue wheelclampers


Cowboy wheelclampers who will soon be outlawed could turn their attention to illegal parking ticket rackets, the AA warned today.

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

The AA, which campaigned to have the cowboys banned, said the illegal clampers might try to shift their business to bogus parking tickets on private land.

And AA president Edmund King warned drivers to be particularly vigilant about where they park until the October 1 ban takes effect.

The new clamping law applies to England and Wales, but not Northern Ireland. Clamping and towing away on private land has been banned in Scotland since 1992.

The AA today listed some of the worst cases of clamping:

:: Clampers threaten to take three-year-old girl hostage unless mother pays the clamp ransom in Doncaster;

:: A hearse clamped with a body in the back on the way to a 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 10 minutes after concert;

:: Pensioners charged £390 when paying 15p fine on library book;

:: Marked police car clamped, with the clamper ending up with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order;

:: Queen's official protection guard clamped while on duty;

:: AA patrol charged extortionate and record £1,180 while fixing lady's car.

Mr King 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 wheelclamping on private land is a victory for justice and common sense.

"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."

He went on: "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."