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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 08:33 GMT
Motorist's 1,300 clamping bill
Tim Garbutt
Mr Garbutt said he saw clampers "skulking" near his car
A motorist is facing more than 1,300 in parking charges after leaving his car for a few minutes as he collected his niece from a ballet lesson.

Tim Garbutt, 33, had parked his Land Rover Discovery in an empty forecourt on Old Leeds Road in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

But when he returned about four minutes later he found his car had been clamped by private car parking attendants, working for a local music school.

He has written to his Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, and spoken to council members about the incident, which happened on 18 February.

Parking argument

Mr Garbutt said: "It was dark and I did not want to leave my niece to walk alone, so I walked across the road and into the dance school to meet her.

"When I got back, the car had been clamped and I saw two attendants skulking in the shadows."

He spoke to the pair who demanded he pay a 95 fine, but Mr Garbutt refused. During an argument with the men he says he was then wrestled to the ground.

A tow-truck arrived and Mr Garbutt agreed to pay the fine, but was then asked for a further 190 - the call-out charge for the truck.

Solution sought

The men demanded Mr Garbutt, an events organiser for a local authority, pay in cash and removed the car when he said he had no money.

When he arranged to meet them two days later to pay the 285, he was asked for another 240 for damage to the wheel-clamp, 190 for further use of the tow-truck and 70 for storage of his vehicle for two nights.

Mr Garbutt is being billed for the daily cost of storing his vehicle - and the charge currently stands at 1,310 and is rising daily. The land is owned by the Kirklees Music School, a registered charity.

Councillors in Kirklees - who help pay for the school - have promised to help find an "amicable solution".

See also:

01 Oct 00 | UK Politics
Wheel-clampers face clampdown
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