ROGUE wheel-clampers could now be hauledbefore the courts for clamping vehicles on private land, after new laws came into force on Monday.
Solihull Council says the new legislation makes it illegal to clamp, tow away, or immobilise a vehicle, without the “lawful authority” to do so.
Cowboys who flout the new restrictions could be prosecuted and face hefty fines.
But the borough council, police, government agencies, or railway stations will still be within their rights to take action.
And anybody with a “lawful authority” can continue to contract clamping out to a private company, who have been otherwise banned from the practice.
Lifting the lid on the crafty tactics of certain wheel clamping firms, Solihull Council said some residents had been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
In one incident, a woman went to get change for a parking meter, but returned five minutes later to find her car clamped. She was told she would have to cough up a £150 fee. In another incident, a motorist was six minutes over on his parking ticket, and found the vehicle had already been towed away. The return of the vehicle was priced at £254.
Solihull MP Lorely Burt said: “Landowners still have their rights and drivers should not take this as carte blanche to park where they like. But what this will stop is shady practices like concealing signs behind parked vehicles or handing out legal-looking paperwork that carries no weight.”
Solihull Council said if a driver’s vehicle is illegally clamped, they should take photographs of everything, signs included, and seek advice from either Police or Trading Standards.