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FightBack Forums > Queries > Council Parking Tickets & Clamping and Decriminalised Notices
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llama13
Hello

I've parked my car on a council estate where I live and found it clamped today with a 'penalty charge' for £138 from a private security company (SIA registered). I have been living here for 4 months now. I own one of the ex-council flats and there is no need for a parking permit.

The offence is Expired road tax. I do actually have my current road tax disc starting Jan 2010, I hadn't put it in my car yet as I have not driven since Christmas. So the car was displaying the road tax disc that expired Dec 2009. I've now put the valid disc in the car!

The ticket says 'a penalty charge is payable where a vehicle is left in contravention of the site regulations laid down by the land owner or managing agents thereof. Please note this vehicle is parked in contravention to these conditions.'

There was a sheet with the ticket that says (amongst other things) 'Your vehicle has been issued with a civil penalty ticket and was subsequently clamped to ensure payment of the attached penalty ticket which forms part of a legal and binding agreement, to which you are bound to by measure of your parking on these private grounds in view of a warning notice.'

The parking is on the estate so not on a main road. There are signs dotted around but there is nothing in clear eyeshot from where my car is parked, definitely nothing that can be read clearly (I can't remember if there's something at the entrance).

As there is an extra £15 charge per day and a risk of the car being towed away, I called and explained that I have valid road tax. The lady said she has to follow procedure and that she can't negotiate the fee, I would have to pay the officer who will come and then appeal. I asked her to make a note that I will pay under protest and told her that I am not happy to pay. She told me that someone can come late tonight or tomorrow. I asked her if they can come tomorrow as I'd like to take photos and that would be easier in the morning.

So, what can I do? I hadn't displayed my valid car tax but I think it's very unfair if I have to pay £138 and be clamped!

Shall I say that it was on the seat? Or argue that the offence is 'expired road tax' when I had valid road tax? Is it likely the officer will just let me off?

I'm quite a new driver and only had a car for about 3 months - I have definitely learned my lesson about displaying road tax!

Also would I get anywhere with this article http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/news/...l#StartComments about a couple who got their money back because the name and licence number of the clamper wasn't on the ticket? I don't have a name, only his 'civil officer' number

Many thanks for any suggestions
cabbyman
Most importantly, pay by credit card. That way, you have a chance of chargeback against the cc company under consumer credit legislation.

If you are asked to sign anything, I would suggest you annotate it 'under duress', although await other comments on that bit. Keep every single bit of paper you are given. Photos of everything, signs, clamp, position of car, cl;ampers vehicle and reg no., clamper (if you dare). Note clampers SIA number and ensure his badge matches the paperwork.

Others will be along soon to advise how to sue for recovery of your monies.

Which company is it?

The road tax issue has f*** all to do with them.
llama13
Having just called back to ask if they would let me off if I can produce a valid tax disc, I was informed by someone mean that the offence was displaying expired road tax. He also said that my reason for wanting to take photos tomorrow is not acceptable and that I have to pay as soon as possible, so someone is now coming within the next 1.5 hours. I asked him if it is not possible to do it tomorrow as I'm at home alone and it will be after 10pm, and he told me that they work 24 hrs.

I informed him that there was no licence number or name of the clamper (which according to the 'couple beat clampers' article http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/news/...l#StartComments there should be) and he told me that is strange because it should have been produced automatically. He said I still have to pay. He wasn't really having any of it. I feel a bit upset about it but I guess I have to pay and figure out how to fight afterwards :-(



It's NightHawk Securities
cabbyman
Umm, you can pay when you like, or not at all! But your priority is to reclaim your vehicle so that means paying under duress or cutting the clamp off. That is possibly legal but I'm not confident of my knowledge on that course of action.

You can also take photos of anything you wish!!

Make sure you get all the info you can to help the experts on here build a picture and advise you further. You will win, in due course. Good luck.
buttonpusher
Don't remind the clamper of anything, note number of his badge (if you can) to compare with the one on the receipt(assuming there is one). Copy the receipt and anything else, remove personal details, and post them on here. See FAQ for way. Do you have a lease, what does it say about parking ?
Alexis
QUOTE
There was a sheet with the ticket that says (amongst other things) 'Your vehicle has been issued with a civil penalty ticket and was subsequently clamped to ensure payment of the attached penalty ticket which forms part of a legal and binding agreement, to which you are bound to by measure of your parking on these private grounds in view of a warning notice.'


You need to contact the police. It is an offence to seize goods to settle an alleged debt without a court order.

Their is also no debt in this instance - tax discs are of no concern to anybody apart from the authorities. Their 'binding terms and conditions' are no different from saying they will clamp and tow any German cars or any green cars.

Your car has been TWOCed in effect. Do not let the police fob you off with 'it's a civil matter' - this is not a usual consent to being clamped case.

Now the flipside is that in theory you have committed the offence of not displaying your tax disc, which can result in a £60 FPN from the police. You would have to admit this to the police who may or may not take action. In theory they may want top help you get the car back so that they can give you FPN.

I'd print of this thread and go down to the station tomorrow.
J_Edgar
When the clamper turns up ask for his SIA number and name then go back indoors and check it here:

http://sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/home/licensing/register/

If it comes up invalid call the police and report the illegal clamp, they will try to fob you off and tell you it is a civil matter but explain it is a breach of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 to clamp without a valid licence and you expect them to act.
llama13
How do I insert the pictures please? I have scanned them... thanks
J_Edgar
QUOTE (llama13 @ Sat, 16 Jan 2010 - 21:23) *
How do I insert the pictures please? I have scanned them... thanks


http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=36858

llama13




Thanks for the link - here is the ticket and the info sheet it came with - I'm not sure what the image shack or bb code is about though, i hope it still works

I get the feeling I have to pay at some point if I don't want it towed away? Sadly I've already got the guy coming over now!
J_Edgar
Calling it a penalty charge notice is almost certainly fraudulent.

I would get the rozzers round if it was me.
buttonpusher
Have you been given any terms and conditions of parking?
J_Edgar
Just as an aside the bbcode image tags are effectively shortcuts that contain the appropriate html code to allow hosted images to display on the forum page. Most forums do not allow the direct use of html as it is possible to insert malicious code that can break the forums.

Alexis
They make a clear admission of clamping to force payment of an alleged debt - blackmail. Their paperwork is highly fraudulent.

Numerous offences committed here - please phone the police. Do not pay them and sit in the car if they arrive to tow.
buttonpusher
They particularly call the ticket a penalty. http://www.shadow-uk.com/nighthawksecurity...kingtickets.asp
anon45
Wouldn't it be great if the OP reported back tomorrrow morning that the clamp had been cut off by person or persons unknown, presumably using angle-grinders or bolt-cutters? wink.gif
(hint, hint).
llama13
I own the property leasehold

The only thing I can find is in the first schedule
Easements rights and privileges

2. Full right and liberty for the tenant and all persons authorised by him (in common with all other persons entitled to the like right) with or without a motor car and other vehicles at all times and for all purposes in connection with the permitted user of the Demised Premises to go pass and repass over and along the roads within the estate leading to or adjacent to the building and over the access shown coloured yellow (if any) on the said plan.

My plan is actually a black and white copy so I can't tell if there are any yellow markings

I had asked at the office TMO when I moved in if I needed a permit to park, and I was told that no permit is required. I wasn't given other info about parking, despite being told they would send me some general info about the estate.

I read that PPCs use 'Penalty Charge Notice' to fool people into thinking they are real/serious - my main concern is that I don't want to deal with them towing my car away!
J_Edgar
The cannot remove it if you are sitting in the vehicle.

If you chose to do this have a mobile phone so you can call the police.
anon45
The fact the OP owns the property leasehold makes the clamping even more unlawful, but I'm afraid cannot share the faith of other posters that the police will help- my experience is that they will insist until they are blue in the face that it is "a civil matter", and may even seek to issue an FPN over the non-displayed tax disc.

If you pay, you will face an uphill battle to get a penny back from the landowners, as the cowboy clampers will simply ignore the CCJ.
Costs are strictly limited on the small-claims track, so even in the best-case scenario, you won't get anything back for the loss of time, or for the stress, hassle and inconvenience caused.

However, if a person or persons unknown (your guardian angel, perhaps?) mysteriously cuts off the clamp, however, then you're in the clear and won't have to pay a penny.

Given that you have the right to the peaceable enjoyment of your own property, I would even suggest that it is *probably* lawful self-help to cut off the clamp, although I cannot say this with any certainty.
axeman
don't pay, either cut the clamp off and move the vehicle to a different location or sit in it so they cannot tow it away and call the police. this is a fraudulent act by the clamper's
mickR
since when have PPCs been able to charge people for expired road tax? does the management company have any right to do this? cars without tax? dogs not on a lead? toilet woithout paper? when is it acceptable!
phone the police tell them you are being harrassed trying to send someone to your house at night!
B'sards
anon45
If the clamp is indeed cut off, then the person or persons doing so ought to take great care to inflict the minimum damage necessary to remove the clamp, which would probably, in practice, mean cutting off the clamp lock rather than the clamp itself.

This would make a "self-help" argument easier to sell, although the police would still have to prove 'whodunnit' beyond reasonable doubt.
J_Edgar
I have spoken to my wife who is a civilian police controller.

The police are very unlikely to issue an FPN for failure to display based on the word of the clamper, especially so as the vehicle is now compliant.

They would be very likely to insist that the clamping is a civil matter and you would need to be very persistent in your claim that a criminal offence has taken place and you will make an official complaint if they do not investigate.

llama13
Well apparently they are already here so I have to go out and pay now. I did call back to ask how long someone has to pay before their car is towed away. It was the same man who told me that it depends, and he doesn't know how long it would be for my case. I told him that their website says they give up to 14 days for penalties to be paid, he said this isn't the case. I also asked him to confirm that as he'd told me, I have to pay asap, and he said that is correct. I also clarified that I am only paying this now because he told me I have to do it asap and he accepted this.

Really not happy about this!! I wish I hadn't called!
Alexis
Well yes, getting the clamp off would be best.

QUOTE
The fact the OP owns the property leasehold makes the clamping even more unlawful, but I'm afraid cannot share the faith of other posters that the police will help- my experience is that they will insist until they are blue in the face that it is "a civil matter", and may even seek to issue an FPN over the non-displayed tax disc.


An FPN is a small price compared with having the car towed. I'm usually with you on the 'civil matter' side, but this is more than the usual clamping case. They explicitly state in writing they are clamping for an alleged debt. They couldn't be more obvious if they'd printed "we are committing blackmail against you".

The thread starter is a victim of crime here. None action by the police would pave the way for the Independent Police Complaints Commission to get involved.
DBC
This is the website for the parking company:-
http://www.shadow-uk.com/nighthawksecurity/index.asp

As you see there is only a PO box for the address and no company registration number.

On that website they are breaking the law by calling it a "Penalty charge notice" and saying that parking on private land is illegal. They also don't appear to be BPA members .
llama13
I went to see the man, I went to check his SIA number but it wouldn't come up on the website. I went out to tell him that and saw i had copied it down incorrectly. He was nice before I went away, I'm guessing he'd spoken to his colleague because he wasn't nice afterwards and said he had to go soon. I said I'm going to get my credit card to pay and by the time I came out he had left!!

I called the company back, it was the same guy and he wasn't nice, wouldn't give his name like before (I think he was recording this time) and said that I now have no time and he would send someone to tow my car immediately! I said I was willing to pay but the guy had left! so now he is coming back and i have to pay an extra £15 :-( or they WILL tow my car. I'm so going to fight for this hard!
Glacier2
Get a angle grinder stat.
DBC
Further to my post above. I have now found a company number on their website, but it comes up with a completely different name:-

Name & Registered Office:
CRIMEGUARD UK LIMITED
SUITE 406 KEMP HOUSE
152-160 CITY ROAD
LONDON
EC1V 2NX
Company No. 04655970



Mortimer
QUOTE (Glacier2 @ Sat, 16 Jan 2010 - 23:11) *
Get a angle grinder stat.


I think he (or someone) needs to be out there sat in the car first... stat.

Then make calls from the car and get in touch with someone who can help, a friend (or friends), and preferably one who has access to an angle grinder.

Although, in this case won't the clamping company simply clamp it again? Or worse take the car when he least expects it?

SchoolRunMum
I would ring the Police, personally. At least get the complaint logged even if the cops do just insist it's a civil matter. Try to state clearly that it isn't - because:

you have not seen any signage (apparently the Police like to wuss out if they see any signs up about clamping);
the clampers' document states that the reason for clamping is a penalty to force payment of an alleged debt;
there is no debt and if they want to allege one their remedy would be to seek redress in Court;
your leaseholder/managing agent contract does not cover such clamping action at all;
your leaseholder/managing agent contract does not cover such towing action at all;
the clamper would not hang around when you wanted to check his SIA licence;
and they are not allowing you any days to pay or take photos in your defence.

It's surely an illegal clamp and an illegal tow has been threatened, explain they are scaring and intimidating you, tell the police that you are on your own and they called at your house even though you told them to wait until daylight.

Finally, whilst you are on the computer you could right now, print off some A4 signage to attach inside all the windows of your car, so your own signs are there in place in your car now overnight, and in the days to come.

Some others on here may have good ideas of the wording for signs in your car but I was thinking along the lines of 'WARNING! STOP! POLICE HAVE BEEN INFORMED. The registered keeper of this car has not consented to this clamping nor entered into any contract allowing this action. Any further attempt to tamper with this vehicle, or remove/tow it elsewhere WILL result in a Court claim for recovery of all monies including costs'.

Then just leave your car like that over the weekend, phoning the police tonight or going into the cop shop tomorrow. Take photos in daylight tomorrow of everything, have your phone with you to call the police if you are threatened.

Telephone the managing Agent first thing Monday morning, calmly stating that your car has been illegally clamped by their agents and what are they going to do about it? Tell them you have already reported the crime.

If they talk about the expired tax disc, state that this is irrelevant, you DO have an up to date tax disc on the car and can prove it. And that nowhere on your leasehold contract does it say anything about car tax discs anyway so there is no contract that can have made this action in any way reasonable. Tell them you will hold them liable for the actions of their agents and if they do not get that clamp removed that day (Monday) you will start Court Action against them AND the clampers (both parties).

Anyone else want to add anything? I am female and really feel for this lady's predicament at the hands of these clampers.
llama13
Right, so the deed is done and I'm going to have to figure out how to fight this.

My last post was a quick one because I had to go because I was told the man would be with me within 10 minutes and I had to wait in my car.

Just to explain what happened in that last phone call - I called to say that I had gone to get my card and their man had gone. It was the same man I had spoken to before but now he was sounding more professional and wouldn't geve me his name, just his operator number, hence I think he was recording. He told me that as I was unwilling/unable to pay and he had waited for more time than allowed, he had to go to another job. I said that he hadn't been there for long, I had gone to check his SIA number which I should have a right to do and when I saw him again I said that I was going to get my credit card and the ticket that had been left with me, and that my home is within eyeshot of my car so it wasn't far. The operator said that I had kept him waiting for too long and I had gone away twice, and that now I had to pay an extra £15 fee for non-payment! I told him that wasn't fair, I WAS WILLING to pay and I had told the man I was going to get my card. I also said, to be clear, that I was only paying now because he said I HAD to pay asap.

He asked what I'd like to do and I asked what my options were and how long I had to pay before my car would be towed away, he told me that he was going to inform someone to tow it straightaway! I said that's not fair as I had been willing to pay before. He said that he would send someone to tow it, despite my protests I felt I had no choice, I asked him to send the clamp man over again. He told me to wait in the car and someone would be with me in 10 minutes. Hence the quick post - obviously didn't want to be charged another £15 for making him wait. He finally took the payment (credit card) at around 11.25 pm. Pretty crap considering it was only clamped that same day.

I was really upset, I think even the clampman started to sympathise with me. I asked to write that I had paid under protest on his receipt but he said that he doesn't have a paper receipt for himself. At least they have a note of it on their system. I had called the police before paying and I do have a crime ref number, but they said it's a civil matter and that they do have a right to clamp me. I think he suggested I call the DVLA.
Glacier2
Police are useless as normal.

So the clamper did not give you a receipt?
J_Edgar
Do you have a receipt with the clampers name, signature and SIA number. If so post SIA number please.
llama13
Yes he gave me a receipt, it has his number and I checked on SIA, it is fine. Like I say, he did start to sympathise with me, I was really upset. He asked when I got my road tax and I said at the end of Dec, it just wasn't displayed in the pocket. He actually gave me his name and phone number and said I could call him when I went through with the appeal, which was nice, but I'm not really sure what use he would be? I also took a photo of his licence plate, and I'll take more photos in the morning...
J_Edgar
I am sure one of the eagles here will give you full advice in due course. It is probably not worth bothering with their appeal process as the do not want to give your money back.

Get yourself some sleep and come back here later today, the members here will help all they can.

The treatment you have received is appalling and criminal, you will get your money back if you follow the advice you will be given later.
llama13
Thanks J, I guess there's not much I can do now. I will keep fighting tomorrow...
ford poplar
First job, ring the credit card co & put the credit card payment 'in dispute' and request refund under s72 of Consumer Credit Act
If they say you authorised it by PIN or signature you state 'under duress'
You may need to persevere and ask to speak to supervisor/manager
I assume you paid by credit card and not debit card. Only Visa debit card allows possibility of Chargeback, not quite as easy as CC, other debit cards have no protection
anon45
I'm really sorry to hear that. sad.gif

The behaviour of both the clampers and the police is beyond despicable. angry.gif

Does anyone think there might be a case for judicial review against the police's refusal to act in the face of an obvious crime, or against the UK Government under the ECHR for failure to ensure that the right to peaceable enjoyment of own property is respected?

J_Edgar
This is guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service with regards to Fraud by false representation (Section 2) Fraud Act 2006. To me the issue of the document purporting to be a Penalty Charge Notice is a false representation. This offence carries up to a 10 year jail term.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/fraud_act/#a08

QUOTE
Fraud by false representation (Section 2)

The elements of the offence

The elements of the offence are that the Defendant:

made

a false representation

dishonestly

knowing that the representation was or might be untrue or misleading

with intent to make a gain for himself or another, to cause loss to another or to expose another to risk of loss.
The offence is entirely offender focused. It is complete as soon as the Defendant makes a false representation, provided that it is made with the necessary dishonest intent. It differs from the deception offences in that it is immaterial whether or not any one is cognisant of the representation, deceived or any property actually gained or lost.


Hopefully one of the eagles can advise if this is a useful approach, there may be more appropriate offences to be pursued.

In any event it might be useful to quote this when demanding the charge-back from the credit card company.

/edit

Or maybe Blackmail with a tariff of up to 14 years.

QUOTE
Theft Act 1968
1968 c. 60

21.
Blackmail.
— (1) A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces; and for this purpose a demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief—

(a) that he has reasonable grounds for making the demand; and

(b) that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand.

(2) The nature of the act or omission demanded is immaterial, and it is also immaterial whether the menaces relate to action to be taken by the person making the demand.

(3) A person guilty of blackmail shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

Annotations:
Modifications etc. (not altering text)
C7
S. 21 extended (2.10.1991) by Nuclear Material (Offences) Act 1983 (c. 18, SIF 8), ss. 1(1)(d), 8(2); S.I. 1991/1716, art. 2
cabbyman
I've come back to this thread this morning. You need to keep ALL the paperwork and photos. Note down now any additional bits of conversation, that you haven't recorded above, while they're still fresh in your mind.

Get photos of signs around the relevant area and contact your managing agent tomorrow for details of the landowner, if you don't already have them.

You will be taking two parallel courses of action: Claim against your credit card for chargeback. Keep on pressurising them. At the same time you will be preparing a case for court to sue for your money back if CC proves problematic. The defendants will be the clamping company, who could disappear, so you include the managing agents and the landowner in the action, who cannot disappear so easily.

The experts will be along in due course to pick up the baton and run with you. You will win and retrieve all your outlay. Good luck.
buttonpusher
They're not members of BPA under either name as far as I can see.
DBC
The question should be asked, why is this company acting as some sort of vigilante and "policing" the absence or not of the tax disk? It's nothing to do with the PPC. Do they seem to think they are a branch of the police?
jufair
Here is a link to the details of the cnsumer Credit Act.

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/...efunds-exchange
whitewing
QUOTE (DBC @ Sat, 16 Jan 2010 - 23:11) *
Further to my post above. I have now found a company number on their website, but it comes up with a completely different name:-

Name & Registered Office:
CRIMEGUARD UK LIMITED
SUITE 406 KEMP HOUSE
152-160 CITY ROAD
LONDON
EC1V 2NX
Company No. 04655970

That looks to me like an accommodation address.

Call the SIA and ask if it is legal for clampers to clamp for no tax. if they say no then lodge a formal complaint.

You said it's a council estate - Find out which part of the council engaged these cowboys and press them on why they are employing a company who are clearly acting illegally. Make it clear that you intend taking legal action against the council to recover the fraudulently obtained charge and will be keeping the press informed at all stages - councils don't like bad press.

Make an appointment to see a senior police officer, and go armed with all the bits of legislation etc. and the evidence you have, so you can make it clear that criminal offences have been committed.
DBC
QUOTE (whitewing @ Sun, 17 Jan 2010 - 11:02) *
QUOTE (DBC @ Sat, 16 Jan 2010 - 23:11) *
Further to my post above. I have now found a company number on their website, but it comes up with a completely different name:-

Name & Registered Office:
CRIMEGUARD UK LIMITED
SUITE 406 KEMP HOUSE
152-160 CITY ROAD
LONDON
EC1V 2NX
Company No. 04655970

That looks to me like an accommodation address.

Call the SIA and ask if it is legal for clampers to clamp for no tax. if they say no then lodge a formal complaint.

You said it's a council estate - Find out which part of the council engaged these cowboys and press them on why they are employing a company who are clearly acting illegally. Make it clear that you intend taking legal action against the council to recover the fraudulently obtained charge and will be keeping the press informed at all stages - councils don't like bad press.

Make an appointment to see a senior police officer, and go armed with all the bits of legislation etc. and the evidence you have, so you can make it clear that criminal offences have been committed.






If you put the name into the ICO register you come up with yet another address:-


Registration Number: Z950923X

Date Registered: 28 June 2006 Registration Expires: 27 June 2010

Data Controller: CRIMEGUARD (UK) LTD

Address:
TUDOR HOUSE
GREEN CLOSE LANE
LOUGHBOROUGH
LEICESTERSHIRE
LE11 5AS

Other Names:
NIGHTHAWK SECURITY


axeman
all the above would be completely irrelevant had the OP used an angle grinder and removed a device that was affixed to his vehicle illegally. angry.gif
J_Edgar
QUOTE (axeman @ Sun, 17 Jan 2010 - 12:04) *
all the above would be completely irrelevant had the OP used an angle grinder and removed a device that was affixed to his vehicle illegally. angry.gif


Although true, that is not an easy choice to make just based on advice given on an internet forum. It could lead to charges of criminal damage that would then have to be defended in court,
buttonpusher
QUOTE (axeman @ Sun, 17 Jan 2010 - 12:04) *
all the above would be completely irrelevant had the OP used an angle grinder and removed a device that was affixed to his vehicle illegally. angry.gif

Also not very easy if you are a young lady on their own. IMHO she has chosen the right course of action in the circumstances.
anon45
A better choice would have been to sit in the car, with a mobile, and call a big, burly male friend to cut it off on her behalf, but it's too late now..

(Police would have to prove the identity of the clamp-cutter beyond reasonable doubt, and the OP would have been under no obligation to assist in any way.)
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