Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Clamping firm defends snow fines

generic car clamp
Cobra said the drivers were inconsiderate

A car clamping company has defended its actions after drivers who abandoned their vehicles in the snow in Hampshire were hit with fines of up to £157.

Cobra Security, which looks after the Roebuck Inn car park in Winchester, clamped three cars on Monday after drivers were unable to get home.

One man waited for four hours for his car to be released after he returned the following day.

A Cobra spokesman said to "moan when you get clamped is ridiculous".

Warren Kitley, who lives in Winchester, left his car in the car park at about 1800 GMT but returned on Tuesday at 1100 GMT to find his car had been clamped at 2200 GMT the previous day.

He said he had to wait in the cold until about 1500 GMT before being charged £157.50 on his credit card for his car to be released.

Mr Kitley, who was due to travel to France on Tuesday evening, said: "To be clamped is one thing but to be waiting around in the cold for four hours for them to come and release the clamp is salt in the wound."

A statement on the Cobra Security website read: "People who use private car parks without authorisation are not only extremely inconsiderate but sticking a proverbial two fingers up at the landowner.

"We provide a service that gives people their car parks back."

It continued: "If you need to abandon your car then surely you would have to be daft to dump it on a site with clamping in operation.

"This is bad enough, but to then moan when you get clamped is ridiculous.

"How would these people feel if I dumped my car on their private driveway just because of the weather, only to return nearly 24 hours later. No different and I would not be so inconsiderate!"

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