Notorious clamper pleads guilty

By on 12/04/2010 in News

Following an extensive investigation by Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council, a Birmingham based rogue car clamper whose business empire stretched as far as Milton Keynes pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court today.

Charged with conspiring with others to make unwarranted demands of money from motorists, clamper Andrew Baker, (28), of Pithall Road, Shard End, has pleaded guilty. Sentencing has been deferred until the 21st May.

His accomplices Gary Gwilliam, (54) of Mountbatten Road, Walsall, Mohammed Serrjul Islam (47), of Denville Crescent, Bordesley Green, each pleaded guilty to a single charge of defrauding a motorist.

Trading Standards received over 100 complaints about Baker’s company, Inter Park UK. The complaints made to Trading Standards against the company tended to include one or more of four main issues, namely:

• inadequate signage at the site warning motorists they may be clamped or towed
• a short period of time between parking and being towed
• excessive clamping fees for release of their vehicles
• on occasions people were charged clamp release and towing fees when their vehicle was not actually towed away

Inter Park UK operated at a number of sites, mostly in Birmingham but also in Wolverhampton and Walsall. Some of the main sites in Birmingham included; Woodbridge Road, Moseley, Stratford Road/ Warwick Road, and the A & S Pay and Display Car Park in New Canal Street, Birmingham.

If a vehicle was identified that was not authorised or not displaying a requisite permit, it would be clamped. If the vehicle owner returned whilst the vehicle was still clamped, they would have to pay typically £125 – £150 for the release of the vehicle.

Depending on the terms and conditions at the site, the tow truck would be called after a period if a vehicle remained on site. In some cases the motorist was charged the towing fee irrespective of whether they were towed. Andrew Baker claimed that this was because a fee had to be paid to the towing company.

At the New Canal Street site, vehicles were also clamped/ towed for being incorrectly parked, even though the lines on the ground at this site were worn and hardly visible in places. In some cases the vehicle was towed away after the person had returned and there was no need to remove the vehicle.

Chris Neville, Head of Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council, says:

“Over 100 witnesses were prepared to testify in court against this company.

It is our belief that this was a deliberate ploy designed to make as much money as possible from duping motorists.

Many witnesses described how they felt menaced by clampers who demanded £325 in cash. This was extremely distressing to victims, some of whom had their young children with them as they returned to find their cars being towed.

The witness testimonies described behaviour that most right minded people would find outrageous. In one instance, a gentleman parked on site with his son and went to get some change while his son remained on site. When he returned five minutes later, he saw a tow truck behind his car about to lift him. They demanded £325 cash or else the car would be taken away. His son told him they had applied a clamp and tow straps on as soon as he had walked away. Despite the victim offering to pay £325, they carried on lifting the vehicle and he had to go to the compound and pay £365.

In another case, the clamper even drove someone home so that he could get some cash to pay £175 to release his car.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007  hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

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  1. Russell says:

    I am delilghted at this action be taken and well done to trading standards for their hard and diligent work. I think the fact that these men refuse to take a credit cards and will only accept cash shows how dodgy this whole practice is. There was no visible sign in the car park where i was clamped and as soon as i started to complain they called the tow truck and demanded £325 from me. I could not believe that such a practice could be right and now I am delighted to see that it isn’t.

  2. ANNE says:

    these people needed this, they are nothing but a load of thugs taking money from the poor motorists, i know what this is like as i was with my hubby when his car was clamped and towed away within 10 minutes of being parked in a&s car park unfortunately he will not get his money back because the clampers are pleading poverty what a joke but well done to the trading standards

  3. Helen says:

    I cant believe that the state are paying hundreds of pounds a week to keep a clamper in prison for 2 years when there are real criminals walking around on the streets. especially as he offered to pay it all back.

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