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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Wheel-clamper escapes Asbo threat
Police van with wheel clamp in Haworth car park in 2002
Chris Walsh took this picture of a clamped police van in Haworth
A car clamper has escaped getting an Asbo for his alleged harassment of motorists at a tourist spot.

However, George McDicken will be prevented from clamping cars on an informal basis in the Pennine town of Haworth, famous for the Bronte sisters.

The 38-year-old from Ling Park Approach, Wilsden, Bradford, works for Carstoppers - once branded Britain's most-hated clamping firm.

A marked police van was even once clamped in the town's main car park.

Local traders complained that excessive clamping had harmed local tourism.

'Worst clamper'

The company reportedly immobilised one car while the driver was asleep inside and showed no sympathy to a wheelchair user and her husband who arrived late after struggling up a hill.

In 2003 Carstoppers won the RAC Dick Turpin Award for the nation's worst clamper.

Bradford Council sought the Asbo after receiving numerous complaints about Mr McDicken's behaviour.

At hearing at Leeds Magistrates' Court on Friday District Judge Professor Mary Hayes rejected imposing an interim Asbo, after hearing the clamper had voluntarily handed over his ID badge, which allows him to work.

Tickets upside down

The owners of the car park and Carstoppers said they would not allow him to work for the immediate future.

The court heard how some motorists were penalised for putting their tickets upside down and another motorist was allegedly blocked in by Mr McDicken.

Ken Green, prosecuting, said some motorists left feeling intimidated and upset by the behaviour of Mr McDicken.

Haworth is a popular visitor attraction for tourists

Mr Green said: "Clamping is lawful, but we say Mr McDicken acted way beyond that lawful exercise of clamping and acted in a manner which was intimidatory, threatening and abusive to members of the public who may be errant motorists but do not, cannot, justify being treated in this way."

Paul Fitzpatrick, defending, said the "vast majority" of motorists were happy with their experience of the car park.

He said: "The issue of clamping is emotive. Motorists who infringe the parking regulations do sometimes act irrationally.

"People do not like the sanctions, we understand that but without the sanctions the car park can't operate."

A full hearing will be heard at a later date.

Mr McDicken declined to comment as he left court.

Car clamper George McDicken outside court

Council clamps clamper with ASBO
28 Sep 04 |  Hampshire
Clamping firm "worst in UK"
26 Nov 03 |  West Yorkshire
'Superhero' takes on clampers
16 Sep 03 |  England
Wheel-clampers face clampdown
01 Oct 00 |  Politics

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