19 October 2004

The RAC Foundation is calling for nominations for the UK's worst cowboy clampers. The winner, the clamper identified as acting in the most aggressive, bully-boy manner, will become the recipient of the organisation's Dick Turpin award for 'highway robbery'. Nominations should be emailed to cowboyclampers@racfoundation.co.uk

Last year, this dubious honour went to a Yorkshire wheel clamper who allegedly immobilised a car while the driver was asleep in the vehicle, threatened clamped motorists with large dogs and forced a heavily pregnant woman to walk with her young child to a cash point over two miles away.

Clamping on private land has been treated as extortion and theft in Scotland since 1992, but in England and Wales, clampers are currently allowed to immobilise any motorists who might mistakenly park on private land. The government has established a new authority to license clampers, and from February 28 2005, those operating without a Security Industry Authority licence will be doing so illegally. Anyone clamping without a licence will incur significant fines, and could face up to five years in prison.

"We are keen to pass on the worst clamping cases to the Security Industry Authority to ensure cowboy clamping companies are thoroughly investigated prior to licensing,' said RAC Executive Director Edmund King. 'Many clampers know their days are numbered, and so are increasing their activities, by ruthlessly cashing in on unsuspecting motorists.

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