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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Cowboy clampers given seven years
Wheel clamp
The pair charged drivers huge fees to release the clamps
Two men found guilty of operating a dishonest car-clamping business have been jailed.

Darren Havell, 31, and Gordon Miller, 39, who ran Aquarius Securities in Portsmouth, had been found guilty of seven counts of blackmailing motorists.

The pair deliberately trapped drivers, clamped them and charged exorbitant fees, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Havell of Stamshaw, Portsmouth, was jailed for three years and Miller of Tangier Road, Southsea, for four.

You dealt with the motorists in a bullying, arrogant and abhorrent manner
Judge Michael Roach
The pair were cleared of two other blackmail charges and Havell was found not guilty of one count of robbery.

The jury heard that the pair clamped a woman attempting a three point turn, a man sitting in his car with the engine running and on one occasion, they attempted to clamp a moving car.

The court had heard that the pair's business operated in the Portsmouth area for seven months until October last year.

The pair's favourite "hunting ground" was an abandoned garage forecourt called Click For Credit on The Hard, on Portsmouth waterfront.

Drivers who refused to pay a fine immediately would see it illegally increased, and if the motorist still did not pay the car would be towed away.

Investigation continues

On 13 March 2004 Lynda Walsh was one of three people clamped after she had stopped briefly to pick up her son.

She told the jury the tow truck had driven towards her and effectively blocked her in. Miller then told her she was clamped and "shouldn't have parked there".

He added: "It's stupid people like you that pay for my Rolex and my Mercedes."

Passing sentence, Judge Michael Roach said: "You both trapped motorists on the land on which you patrolled.

"In each case you deliberately set out to stop the motorists from leaving and sought to extract money from them.

"You dealt with the motorists in a bullying, arrogant and abhorrent manner."

Detective Inspector Adam Price, of Hampshire Police, said: "We are delighted with today's sentences.

"The people of Portsmouth who were plagued by their actions have been properly protected.

"This investigation continues and is now focusing on seizing Miller's assets so that his ill-gotten gains are taken from him."

Guilty verdicts for car clampers
23 Jun 05 |  Hampshire
Car clamper denies keeping ring
15 Jun 05 |  Hampshire
Clamper 'made boasts of violence'
19 May 05 |  Hampshire
'Bully' clampers accused of scam
18 May 05 |  Hampshire

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