Ok, so it was my mistake. I had a parking permit for the apartment block but was distracted by my young son and so stupidly left the permit in the door pocket of our Discovery. Predictably I came back to find a sticker on the window and a clamp on the wheel.

Worse was that the clamper was still in attendance - from the ironically named Ace security of London - filling up the underground car park with fumes from his van which he hadn't bothered to switch off.

I thought it was worth protesting and even showed him the undisplayed permit. It didn't cut any ice though - he mumbled "I've already logged it and taken the pictures, mate." I could also appeal but only after I'd paid up and I didn't really need to imagine how futile that may be...

So how much to remove the clamp so I could use my car again? £120. That's right, 120 quid!!

Just to recap, these clampers can charge three times the cost of a parking ticket - and more to the point charge what they like.

Maybe I'm just smarting from the unwelcome dent in my credit card and my stupidity at not displaying the pass in the first place. But surely this is a business that needs some regulating? There’s currently a bill going through Parliament to ban clamping on private property and the resulting racketeering that can ensue. It can’t come quickly enough.