Ronald Pemberton Corner is a monument to Ronald Pemberton an 83 year old pensioner and owner of his own Stationary business who was so sick of people parking in front of his garage ...........he decided to shunt them out the way with his own car.  

This is illegal criminal damage.  Do not try it at home.

In honour of Ronald Pemberton I have created Ronald Pemberton Corner.  Ronald Pemberton Corner is dedicated to all the selfish people in the world who park in front of garages and all the motorist and consumer lobbying organisations in the world who seek to exploit loopholes in the law to keep this practice legal and the fines and consequences as small as possible. 

This is not a page about how nasty wasty it is that a big capitalist bully expected you actually pay in order to park your motor on their private land because the council expect you to pay to park on the street and you dont want to pay to use a car park.  There are thousands of motoring lobby groups out their to sooth your ego and kiss your bottom when you get clamped/towed/fined.  This page is for garage owners.  Everyone else can go stuff themselves.

This page is about ...

Please note these are illustrative random street pictures - it is quite possible the owners of these garages are quite happy having their doors blocked and these are their own cars and they just put up the NO PARKING 24 HOUR ACCESS signs for fun.

... the legal absurdity that you can park your car in front of my garage blocking access when I need to go out and gig but no one can tow it away

Not me, not the council, not the police and not the flat management company.  Signs like this...

...are actually nonsense.  The truth is that a car now cannot be clamped and cannot be towed - even if someone's malciously parked it in completely the wrong place.  If your garage opens directly onto the street and there is a dropped kerb the council may be able to tow it away if the car is actually on the street ... but due to extensive lobbying by the motoring lobby and nice consumer organisations such as Money Saving Expert and other collectives for terminally tight there is no right to tow on private land.  There isn't even the right to clamp. 

Clamping a car in front of a garage is, of course, in direct contravention to the logical aim which is access to the car in the garage but it is, it would seem, the British way of doing things.  Passive aggression at all times.  There used to be the right to clamp and tow until the Con-Lib Coalition introduced their so called "Freedom Bill".   The Protection of Freedoms Bill is a sort of hodge podge of a piece of legislation ...the result of a vast public consultation ... dismantle all the "bad laws" that Labour enacted.  Our particular recommendation was not included but various bits and pieces of repressive nonsense were.  Civil Liberties are the new buzzword because's something the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can agree on.   Tories love the small state and fewer laws "Libertarianism" and Liberals love Civil Liberties.  Even if combining the two and shrinking the state sector doesn't actually create that much freedom as cutting the police has left everyone in fear of crime or whatever.  Contrastingly Labour traditionally like spending money ...even when the country would seem to not have much of it... or whatever...

So since a lot of people wanted it and therefore there must be votes in it and therefore it is a good idea the Freedom Bill will abolish the right to clamp and and tow for private landowners forever.  Or until the next argument.  Ironically the right to tow is a freedom that has actually been taken away by the freedom bill.

By the way ...if you're wondering why this article is here and not on a consumer group website is because when I started a thread on the Money Saving Expert forums questioning why I dont have the right to try and remove cars in front of my garage by any means neccessary I was "banned for life" from the forums on the grounds that since I run a comedy club stating anything under my own name must be a form of "advertising".  A bit much from a man who was told off by Offcom for plugging his website so much on GMTV that the viewers wrote in to moan...  I would include a picture of Martin but knowing his parismonious nature it is likely that he might object on copyright reasons or something... so here's an entirely unrelated picture of another famous money saving expert...

... I feel it is fair to point out that it may be possible to be both thrifty and not mean and that generally Martin probably does a good job for consumers - but by definition a money saving site can only work by organising the majority ("consumers") against the minority (businesses and private land owners...?).   This is fine so long as the law is black and white ... the problems  arise because when it comes to parking on private land the law is as clear as mud and the law is as impotent as a castrato.  Since the internal combustion engine is over 120 years old I think it is fairly realistic to surmise that this is not an accident.... A large number of people have a large financial interest in keeping it that way.  

As one might expect of a man who encourages everyone to assiduously seek out other people's loss leaders... Martin is very proprietorial about his messageboard and keen to make sure this particular loss leader loses as little as humanly possible...

Posting is a privilege not a right. This is a privately owned site. Posting is a privilege, not a right. Any inappropriate posts or any issues that take up a disproportionate amount of site resources or make it a worse place to be will be stopped at our discretion - with or without explanation. No one pays to use this site; when there are issues we pay to resolve them. And sometimes we need to prioritise spending money on the site, other issues or better resources.

...almost reads like it should be on a garage door, doesn't it? 

Anyway that's why I'm writing on my own site.  I wouldn't want to get involved in any issues that take up a disproportionate amount of site resources.  That might cost Martin money.  That said there may be other reasons for Martin throwing me off his site for "advertising".  I'm not the first.  Steve Burford of "Wealthy Student" claims that when he put a direct advertising link on the forum Martin threatened to ring his mum and as you can see from this link. Martin has also trod on the toes of the lucrative financial service industry who claim he's not authorised by the FSA.  Actually I think he is but its interesting the site carries a disclaimer "This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances and remember we focus on rates not service".  It's very important to get proper professional financial advice.  I know this from my old two-companies ago pension scheme where I put in £2000, the company put in £2000 and after 4 years the fund contained £3000.  Something neither of us could have achieved without the help of the FSA.  Also one has to ask the question: if no one could comment of the financial services industry without being in it, isn't that a positive feedback loop?  Perhaps they fear public scrutiny?  To complicate matters further Martin also trades (like Pear Shaped and Sam Smith's breweries) as an Unlimited Company - the main purpose of which is probably to keep him off the Sunday Times Rich List.  One sympathises.  The disadvantage of being an unlimited company is unlimited financial liability for your losses ... and, of course, due to the fact they dont have to submit accounts they can be quite difficult to politically control.  It's a lot easier for part of your business to schism off (sometimes with the money) ... a combination of these factors may explain why Martin rules his website with an iron rod.

Then again if you really need to delete a thread just because it might create a miniscule volume of internet traffic to an open mike night website which his readers (not I) seem intent on searching out then maybe that is just averice beyond the point of reason.  Or perhaps the idea of Money Saving Expert forums is that one should never post on them under one's own name whoever one is... a policy sure to create a culture of social responsibility. 

We want you to keep discussing and building the community, but we also want to keep this a friendly site. Potentially volatile subjects have no real place on a MoneySaving forum and often only serve to offend. Please help us to help you.

No wonder he gave up stand up ...

....I dont think you have to be too bright to realise that there may be philosophical problems with censoring potentially volatile subjects and representing the views of ALL consumers. No one can represent the views of EVERYONE after all.  The best anyone can do is represent the view of a MAJORITY.  But what happens when one consumer's rights and another's come into conflict - who's views do you bow to?  Obviously to prevent offence and make the most money you must bow to the majority?  But what if the majority are actually wrong?  Is it actually possible or desirable to steer a middle way? 

Rather than write a complicated essay on these issues I'll leave it to the British Parking Association to articulate what I have often pondered.  They complained in 2009 about Martin's article on how to avoid private parking fines:

“I want also to raise the more general issue of the need for landowners to protect or charge for use of their land. Your website as it stands takes the position that when you get a ticket you should always try and get out of it whereas it should acknowledge that most people who get tickets have actually parked unlawfully at the expense of others who have paid and complied with car park terms and conditions.

Martin Lewis opined

"I think you may’ve misread the article? Even in the introduction it states “This step-by-step guide to fighting unfair private company parking tickets isn’t about circumventing legitimate rules, but to help when they’ve been applied unfairly or inappropriately.  It then goes on to state in huge letters, the largest textual graphic in the entire guide,

“If you get an unfair ticket, Don’t pay it.”

The premise of the guide is about how to fight unfair tickets, however that’s something we believe our users are perfectly capable of self defining."

A statement so dumb it's enough to make one believe in a "dictatorship of moral relativism".... After all we would not need a criminal justice system if every individual was truly capable of self defining the moral from the immoral and the social from the anti-social all the time.

And not really believeable given the title of the article

.......aware that this is statement is probably bollocks he has helpfully appended the small print disclaimer:

While every effort's been made to ensure this article's accuracy, it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can't assume responsibility and don't accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it."

while concealed on a tab

that only opens
when you click on it is the further disclaimer:

"Of course, landowners have a right to charge for and police proper parking. If you've broken those rules, and you think the ticket isn't exorbitant, I'd urge you to pay up."

Funny that the man who moans about concealed parking regulation signs are a very bad thing should not make his own views immediately visible...?

As a result all Martin's readers take a sensible view of what is fair and unfair and have not lost the word fair or misunderstood that actually there are laws about parking on private land ...and have not (as we can see from his forum) instead absorbed a message that "if you can get away with it then do" we can see from their signatures...

None of them are advertising services either or promoting themselves...

...and all of them take a responsible view towards society and are engaged in worthwile pursuits.  What could be more moral?  Where could one find greater paragons of virtue?  One will not comment on the implicit irony of a website that encourages the fighting of speeding fines via every available legal appeals procedure and which constantly lobbies for clemency having a "zero tolerance policy" within its own "community" from which I am banned for life for less than 15 posts of "advertising".

Of course one could argue that Money Saving Expert is a money saving site much needed by those on low incomes but that doesn't mean that (like many other similar sites that derive revenue from advising on how to avoid parking fines) it doesn't promote its own value systems - just like any political party of a religion. 

A site that brands ALL car clampers as "cowboys" ...

... is not taking an amoral position.  But the use of the term cowboy is not inappropriate as trying to stop people parking in front of your garage when the police and the council wont go there is not unlike operating in the Wild West.  One is left to form one's own possies, find one's own vigilantes, be one's own sheriff and do all one's own policing because the police wont go there.  Leaving the likes of Ronald Pemberton taking the law into their own hands in the worst possible way.  Of course one can get a licence to do one's own basic policing from the Security Industry Authority ...part of the Home Office who are in charge of licensing all the private security guards, clampers, towers and other privatised police forces who deal with all the stuff the police cant get round to quickly but it's a large extra cost to small business ... particularly very small businesses like Ronald Pemberton's.

So, short of getting a "minder", the likes of Ronald are left with "asking people nicely" ...and it's different asking someone (who by definition you know to be lacking in social sensibilities) to move their car when you're a healthy young man in early middle age to when you're a little frail and over 80.  And it doesn't help that people know that there is virtually no legal sanction for blocking garages either.  As Sarah Regan prosecuting said:

Thankyou Sarah for highlighting this highly effective route to stop people taking the living piss out of householders.   To quote Nicholas Rowland who banned Pemberton from driving for 12 months and ordered him to pay nearly £2,000 in fines, court costs and compensation (he did manage to hit the illegally parked car's driver's heart bleeds) :

...a sentiment that would be fine if the law wanted to get its hands dirty with Mr Pemberton's problem in the first place ... something it assiduously avoids except to attempt to generate large turnovers from the current state of opacity.

To be fair Ronald had done another bit of shunting (for the same reason) the fines are actually for two offenses.  In response to those who wanted to actually know how the fine breaks down:

So I do think in the absence of clearly defined legal rules Money Saving Expert could attempt to clearly define

what they think is fair or unfair in terms of £?
when I can't get to the gig and the other acts can't
because someone's in front of the garage
so in the end I'm the only one
who doesn't use my own property

and what the code of morality should be instead of gleefully telling everyone how to avoid responsibility without fully defining it? 

Now the council can clamp, the police can clamp, the council can tow and the police can tow but they wont travel onto private land to do it under any circumstances and you cannot as a property owner do it on your own.  As to those who rent they can definately get stuffed (unless they're Council tennants).  If you think this is an anomoly then here's an interesting exchange in the Committee stage between Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell and Theresa May

Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central) (Con): Further to my right hon. Friend's answer to the hon. Member for Luton South (Gavin Shuker), will she confirm that local authorities will continue to have the power to clamp on the public highway? Will residents in private developments be able to contract with their local authority to clamp on private developments? 
I have been contacted by a large number of people in my constituency who have tried ticketing and barriers but found that they do not work close to the town centre and public transport hubs. Could local authorities continue to clamp on private land?

Mrs May: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point. Local authorities already have the ability to take a controlling interest and to run parking on private land, subject to the agreement and request of the landowner, although that facility has not been much used.  To ensure continued access to key buildings, existing powers for the police to remove vehicles that are illegally, dangerously or obstructively parked on roads will be extended to other land. The registered keeper of a vehicle will also be made liable, in certain circumstances, for charges incurred as a result of parking on private land.

There is an intrinsic problem here that most blocks of flats are Leaseholder.  This is often a cheap way to buy.  I bought my flat when it was nearing the end of the lease and it was cheapest and extended the lease (I can now live there until I am 149).  In which case the Freeholder's permission is probably needed as well as probably that of possibly all the other Leaseholders in the block to do anything (a huge effort in technical logisitics). 

Since one of the Freeholders is the Estate Agent who sold me the garage in the first place and who have a fondness for parking outside it when they "forget" I need access... the chances of them employing the police to fine themselves (let alone tow themselves) is zero.  The police are under no illusions they have no power whatsoever.  Although when I asked them they said they weren't sure quite how the new law works either...

Bob Russell Member of Parliament for Colchester since 1997 sums the problems of flat leasholders up in a nutshell...

Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD): I will, however, begin with the wheel-clamping provision, which has been added to the Bill because-I think-it was here to have things added to it. I am not here to defend the rogue firms of wheel-clampers. I do not think that anyone in the Chamber is prepared to speak up for those cowboys, although I always think that to describe them as that is an insult to cowboys.  Nevertheless, there are companies and individuals who have abused the wheel clamp, which used correctly and in the right way is a tool that helps the law-abiding.
The Minister for Equalities started this debate on 17 August last year. I have raised the matter on the Floor of the House before and spoken to her, so I am not saying anything that will come as a surprise. She announced that the freedom Bill would provide for an outright ban on clamping on private land, where it is carried out by private companies. I can just about understand that if the private land is a commercial property, but I am not sure about the idea when applied to private land owned by individual householders. At the moment, the Bill proposes that if somebody parked in the Minister's drive, he would be restricted in the action that he could take to deal with the problem.

While it seems that fudges may have been put in place to get round the problem...

Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con): Looking at the Bill, it is clear that people will be able to close their gates and stop somebody removing a car that way. There is implied consent to allowing a restriction under clause 54(3)(a), and if the case is broader than that, the people or the commercial organisation involved can (1 Mar 2011 : Column 261) apply to the council to come and do the clamping for them. I think the problem that my hon.  Friend is worried about is covered. one's quite sure if and how they can actually be made to work and absurdly because the bill is so specific ...even if the car cannot be trapped with a clamp it can still be trapped with a fixed barrier.  Which seems slightly absurd.

Bob Russell: I hope that my hon. Friend is correct in his understanding, but that has to be spelt out in the Bill, because it is not my understanding. If he is right, no problem; but if I am right, there is a problem. That is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be fleshed out and firmly written down, because clause 54(3)(a) refers to cases where "there is express or implied consent by the driver of the vehicle to restricting itsmovement by a fixed barrier". 

Whether the barrier is up or down is irrelevant. Currently, the local planning authority may well refuse an application to start erecting barriers in carefully designed new housing areas,with landscaped grounds and all the rest of it, but if the Bill goes ahead, they will have to erect barriers to meet the very point that has quite rightly been made. Those are the unintended consequences. I would argue that if residents living on a private housing estate with their own private communal parking areas wish to put a wheel clamp on, why can they not do so? It is an extraordinary state of affairs when the coalition Government are putting forward a Bill with a clause that would give more rights to the illegal parker than the person who owns the land where the car is illegally parked. The notion that residents could run off to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency or whoever else to get fines paid, and all the rest of it, is fanciful.

Patrick Troy (
Chief Executive of the British Parking Association) : The difficulty is that there is private land and private land. We need to define what we mean by it, because some of us might be thinking in terms of supermarket car parks, residential car parks serving flats, or our front drive. All are private land, and then you get into areas such as motorway service areas and hospital car parks. It depends what the private land is being used for, and whether a barrier is appropriate. 

Of course, barriers are appropriate in many situations. I mentioned earlier the typical multi-storey car park. We would not expect to see one without barriers, but should you always expect to see barriers on people’s front drives? Should you always expect to see them in hospital car parks? It is horses for courses, I think, and landowners should be given the right to determine how best to control their land. Our primary concern with the legislation is that it removes from landowners the ability to make that decision. 

The simplest way to describe this is that there are just four ways to control parking on private land: clamping, removing the vehicle, using barriers or gates with chains, and ticketing. The Bill proposes that two of those disappear completely, and that the other two remain. If that is the case, barriers will have their place, as they do now, but for situations where barriers do not apply,

Column number: 149 
ticketing will be the only alternative. That is why it is really important that a way is found to regulate ticketing properly. As we have heard, it is not regulated at the moment and it needs to be. 

Of course the losers in this situation are going to be people like Ronald Pemberton and myself who need regular access to a garage for commercial reasons or to go to work and who's private lands are simply driveways and garage forecourts.  It's no accident that one of the biggest petitioners against the bill is Bob Smytherman, Chairman of The Federation of Private Residents Associations LtdHe writes in Property Week...

Ms Featherstone says that landowners can erect barriers to control parking. She does not seem to realise that landowners includes blocks of flats, are often owned and run by volunteer directors of small resident management companies like ours. Barriers are costly and cannot easily be installed in blocks of flats because:

1. Restrictions in our lease will not allow them;

2. If the lease does allow, or the lease is amended to allow (a complicated and costly process) the cost of installing and maintaining them will fall on the ordinary leaseholder, which in our case includes pensioners, the not so well off and those leaseholders who do not use the parking facilities in any case.

3. Our car parking control company from Worthing, West Sussex provide an excellent, virtually cost-free service for leaseholders as their fees are self-financed from clamping revenue. If clamping is banned, ordinary residents will have to pay for car parking patrols and management (again, subject to the terms of the lease);

4. Barriers would be inconvenient and restrictive to residents’ and visitors as free movement in and out of the estate would cause significant inconvenience for visitors, trade vehicles and emergency vehicles as well as those who do not drive at all.

I believe that improving the regulation of the clamping industry is by far the best way to deal with rogue clampers. The current regulatory framework is far too lacks and so there is plenty of scope to tighten it up.

It seems to me the proposed ban is contrary to the Coalition's Big Society’s objectives, since it removes the freedom of thousands of small community-level leasehold residents’ associations to manage their private estates as they see fit.

Of course the legal problem with parking blocking access is that it doesn't fit into any nice legal box.  It is clearly a form of theft.  If I and the people I'm driving dont get to the gig that can cost the acts and promoter hundreds of pounds each so I always have to park in a parking bay or on the road if I'm going out which defeats the point of the garage entirely ...but the commodity being stolen is not physical is of the the 4th dimension - time.  So it falls between a series of legislative cracks.   If you want your money or property back the police will be on it like a car bonnet.  If you want your time back I'm afraid all you can do is call for Doctor Who.  And even he parks in front of garages...

Reference CAS-973405-LVXZ3H

Thank you for your comments regarding ‘Doctor Who’ broadcast on BBC One on 3 September.  I understand you feel the Doctor should not park his Tardis improperly, such as blocking the entrance to garages, as this sets a poor example.  Part of the joy of the Tardis is that the doctor has only limited control of his vehicle at times and it does materialise in some inconvenient places. We mean no harm by this and feel the audience understand that this is fantasy.  I do understand you feel very strongly about this, so I’d like to assure you that I’ve registered your concerns on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The government (and many motorists) think it is beyond the pale that any motor veichle should be superficially harmed even accidentally no matter how much selfish mental retardation has gone into parking it in the most stupid possible place if it is parked on private land.  And before anyone says "Put a Sign Up" ...erm IT's A GARAGE?! what kind of numpty doesn't realise that a garage door is an access path...?  These are the same idiots who pass 5 posters saying "There's a comedy gig in this room" and then ask "What's going on in here?" in the middle of someone's set.  No volume of information is going to stop them acting like a total twat.

If it's parked on government land (the streets) then the government will do anything it likes right up to crushing a car into a small cube because it hasn't got a tax disk.  Not paying road tax is a crime of fiscal value to the government of a maximum of £215 ....

...probably less for which they TOTALLY destroy your car.  However you can cause comedians, promoters and businessmen much more money than that in lost wages and revenue by blocking a garage and the worst they can do is issue their own PCN the value of probably about £80 of which they probably wont see a penny because they'll have to employ a private contractor to issue it.  The government that crushes cars at the slightest financial slight will neither give people on private land the right to lay a finger on blocking vehicles or come and help us move them.  Why is it such an awful idea that ordinary mortals should be allowed to touch hallowed motor vehicles ...?   Who turned the car into this cult object more important than humans...?

If you want to issue a PCN that costs more than £80 and set in train a war of passive aggression through the courts that will cost potentially thousands you can.  But if you want to break a window that costs less than £80 to release the hand break and push it out the way that is beyond the pale ... after all a vast army of financial parasites couldn't cash in if justice was as simple and practical.

For all the whinging of the pro bad motoring lobby Britain actually has some of the laxest parking laws in the world.  In the US and Australia illegal parkers on public or private land are assiduously towed... and in Russia they take a highly no nonsense approach ...

...only matched in ferocity by Arturas Zuokas the Mayor of Vilnius in Lithuania who here re-enacts a classic Kenny Everett sketch ...

...only for real.  Look how few illegally parked cars there are.

Criminal Damage laws have been on the statute books since the Industrial Revolution when it moved from a Common Law offense (legal twaddle for Judges making it up as they go along without writing anything down) into more formal statutes to deal with the dislike of some machinery created by the Industrial Revolution

As the damage done to machines and industry in time and labour to repair and financial output lost was greater than could be caused by damaging most inanimate objects the government introduced things like Frame-Breaking Act of 1812 which made being nasty to machines punishable by death which caused Lord Byron to remark dryly that

Due to reforming the criminal damage laws being far too simple and sensible, the wheel clamp and towing were invented.  The problem with PCN's .... getting people to actually pay them (if you're not the Council) whereas the wheel clamp forces the car user to pay up in order to get released.  Although it doesn't in the short term solve the problem of the physical presence of the car.  Towing does solve the problem of the presence of the car but is more expensive because it must be done by a licenced operator in a way that avoids criminal damage.  Eventually in order to prevent scratches that probably cost less than impounding the cars ever could .... cars have to be impounded by professional towers and these towers have to be licenced. 

A Vehicle Immobilisers licence is required if the operative undertakes any of the following activity: ·

    * the moving of a vehicle by any means;
    * the restriction of the movement of a vehicle by any means (including the immobilisation of a vehicle by attaching a device to it);
    * the release of a vehicle which has been so moved or restricted, where release is effected by returning the vehicle to the control of the person who was otherwise entitled to remove it, by removing any restriction on the movement of the vehicle by removing the device or by any other means; or
    * the demanding or collection of a charge as a condition of any such release of or for the removal of the device from a vehicle.

...or used to be until David Cameron decided to abolish it on the grounds that since disabling and towing cars to keep roads and access ways clear without causing criminal damage to them costs a lot of money ...this then requires a revenue stream to fund it and as there is no legal framework to set fines and fees it's near impossible to regulate off the main road....

The problems are exacerbated by the fact that while parking on the streets is very carefully legislated for and regulated with sliding scales of fines and punishments ...because successive governments dont want to legislate for private land because then they'd probably have to police it too which would cost the taxpayer money the law is unbelievably vague and muddled somewhere between contract law and trespass and no fixed fee structure exists so operating companies punt for what they think the punters pay.

If they dont pay the whole thing has to go to court and if they still dont pay debt collectors ...spawning an entire mini industry in advising people how to avoid paying private parking tickets by the use of that great British weapon passive aggression.  People tend to prefer to contract out to a contractor too because the trouble with trying to tow and clamp people who block you in yourself is ... they know where you live.

The actual form of trespass offence is, I believe, the common law tort of damage distress feasant ...under which private land owners can seek damages for "the injury which animals belonging to one person do upon the land of another, by feeding there, treading down his grass, corn, or other production of the earth". 

So yes literally a law to deal with "cowboy" offences.  With appropriate signage breach of contract legislation can also be used.  Consult a legal professional.  You probably wont get legal aid because you own things.

Jim Shannon MP tells a typical story

Jim Shannon: Perhaps I have cornered the market in those who have problems with clampers, but I have heard plenty of concerns expressed. I have had complaints nearly every other week. It got to the stage where I was on first name terms with the people in the companies concerned, although I am not sure whether that was good for them or me.  In my area, a firm of clampers was brought in by residents, but the clampers began to clamp visitors to those residents along with everyone else, and it was realised that there was no regulation of clamping and that the clampers were a law unto themselves....

Of course it couldn't be that the visitors to residents were actually parked irresponsibly in front of other people's garages or in other people's spaces or were actually the problem because they are too tight to park on the road...?

...We have all heard horror stories about clamping firms. I won a case in which a lady was clamped who had a disabled child and needed her vehicle for transportation and so paid the fine. Unbelievably, the clampers informed her after payment that the guys who unclamped vehicles were headed home for the weekend and she would have to wait until Monday. After a number of phone calls, I got them to come back and do the right thing by letting her drive away. It is abhorrent that such daylight robbery, though morally defunct, was legally acceptable. The Home Office estimates that 500,000 drivers every year are clamped on private land. The week before last, I read in a newspaper that a lady who worked in a taxi firm had come outside to find her car had been clamped. She contacted her firm, and the taxi drivers, like a wagon train, surrounded the clamping car until the impasse was sorted out.

While it may be true that 500,000 drives a year are clamped on private land I have to say that I'd been driving 6 years and never clamped or towed - where am I going wrong?  Disabled people can be inconsiderate too.  It may be wrong that the clampers would not release the disabled person's car but that doesn't mean he didn't deserve to be clamped - he could have been blocking access or anything?  Just because you complain about something doesn't make you right.  As I think this article proves?

Of course the problem with clamping and towing companies and traffic wardens is that they then have to justify their wages by actually catching people and issuing the appropriate number of fines and become performance related.  This means that in some cases where private individuals pay clamping and towing companies they then find that they clamp even legitimate parkers in order to try and keep raising the revenue that has now disappeared because the fear of clamping and towing and PCNs means everybody now parks responsibly.

One of the favourite techniques of the Pro-Shit-Parking lobby is to equate the number of complaints with the "reasonableness" of the contractors.  As if just because everyone complains about paying a parking fine they must be completely innocent...

Bill Butler(Chief Executive of the Security Industry Authority): I could not speculate, but I can tell you that in the research period, 11% of the correspondence that we received at the SIA relating to complaints came in respect of vehicle immobilisers. There are a total of 350,000 licensed individuals, so it is a very significant percentage. Most of those complaints were about the policies of companies, not about the behaviour of the licensed individuals. 

Q 436 Clive Efford:  Out of nearly 1,800 immobilisers, only 28 have had their licences revoked

Bill Butler: Twenty-nine have had them revoked, and 322 people who applied never got a licence. 

Clive Efford:  Given the volume of complaints about activities in this industry, is that acceptable? 

Bill Butler: The complaints tend to be about signage, levels of charges and the policy of the companies operating, not about the behaviour of the individuals who are licensed. Whenever there is a complaint about the individual, it is investigated to determine whether they have broken their individual licence conditions. It is not a control on the company; it is a control on the individual. other words the vast majority of people were guilty of dumb or stupid parking what they're complaining about is the fines and the level of the fine which, of course, can be debated for all eternity because the government would rather have its legs sawn off than state a clear fine structure.  There are, of course, more people with motor cars than people with garages so why not stuff the people with garages?

Of course if went shoplifting an appropriately licenced individual who is not the police is able to use reasonable force to try and restrain your actions and if you get hurt tough.  However, as we have seen cars are important machines and they, unlike people, must never be harmed.  The result is that private property does not exist to motor cars.  It is just a chimera.  An illusion that estate agents, politicians and authorities perpetuate because they are too scared to take on the car and shit parking lobby.  If you started a petition to bring back hanging thousands of people would sign it... but suggest stronger penalties for an anti-social activity the middle class majority engage in like parking badly ...