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Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 07:20 GMT
Crackdown on cowboy clampers
Wheelclamped car
Clamping on private land is already outlawed in Scotland
Measures to crack down on the "bully boy tactics" of cowboy wheel-clampers are to be introduced by the government.

Ministers have heard evidence of motorists clamped while on private land who were then subjected to threats and extortion by clampers.


It is high time that the bully-boy stand-and-deliver tactics should be outlawed

Edmund King, RAC
Moves to regulate private wheel-clamping firms are set to be introduced as part of a new Private Security Industries Bill, expected to be announced in Wednesday's Queen's Speech.

The RAC's campaigning arm, the RAC Foundation, expects the Bill to ensure that, under new legislation, all clampers would be required to be licensed.

Held to ransom

Earlier this year the House of Commons heard stories of wheel-clampers who had threatened to hold a female driver's three-year-old daughter hostage until she came back with cash to pay her fine.

Another young woman was asked for sex unless she came up with her fine payment immediately.

Clampers in Sheffield demanded a woman motorist's gold tooth as payment.

And a hearse was clamped outside a church with the coffin still in the back.

The RAC Foundation said that East Berkshire Community Health NHS Trust recently fired a company which had, in the past, attempted to recruit inmates at Brixton Prison in south London to work as clampers.

It had started immobilising cars belonging to patients and staff at a Slough clinic.

Extortion

"Motorists will be delighted that the government is to legislate against the aggressive tactics of private clamping companies," said RAC Foundation executive director Edmund King.

"It is high time that the bully-boy stand-and-deliver tactics should be outlawed."

Those who are clamped by councils are already protected by statutory regulation.

Eight years ago clamping on private land was outlawed in Scotland by the Scottish courts after a judge said it amounted to extortion and theft.

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01 Oct 00 | UK Politics
Wheel-clampers face clampdown
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