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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
R.I.P. Cowboy Clampers
COWBOY CLAMPERS have reached the sundown of their careers. Their days of happy rustling in car parks all round the UK are nearly over.

Their signal to get out of town has come from a new sheriff, who is making it his mission to ensure that anyone who puts a clamp on a car when they shouldn't have done, or who charges enormous bounties to set cars free, will feel the lasso of justice.

Clampers first turned up on the scene in the UK in 1983, having come from their previous stomping ground in the Wild West (Denver, Colorado). London businessman Ismet Ilkbahar was the UK's first victim - tens of thousands followed.

Clamped car
Happier times
Even legitimate clamping was never popular with motorists, but it wasn't until the arrival of the Cowboy Clampers on the scene that things got out of hand.

Tales abounded of Cowboys putting their clamps on cars which had been left momentarily while people got out to post a letter, on hearses with bodies inside, and on cars belonging to Good Samaritans who had stopped to help hit-and-run victims.

One Cowboy even demanded a woman's gold tooth instead of payment. And that there just ain't right.

Now the tough-talkin' straight-shootin' Security Industry Authority has started work, and is hoping to clean up the whole darned area.

Cowboy will join family members Dodgy Doorman and Crooked Security Guard for the great round-up in the sky.

No flowers.

Some of your tributes:

Rust in peace.
Gene Reynolds, UK

Don't ask for whom the parking tolls. it tolls for you, clampers.
Ian McGarty, Cheshire, England

At least death is a release that doesn't cost 60.
Derek Hasted, UK

Farewell cowboy clampers. As the great Ray Charles once sang, "Take these chains from my cart and set me free."
Anon, UK

Permanently retyred.
Ron, England

Here's hoping wheel never meet again.
Jackie, England

It's all a lie. In fact wheel clamping is to be subsidised by the government!
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf , Iraq

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