When a car has been parked somewhere where it should not have been it will often be the case that the car has been clamped. The clamp placed over the wheel of the car will ensure that the car is unable to be driven and will only be removed upon the payment of a fine.
The situations on when an individuals’ car will be clamped depends upon whether they have parked on public or private property.
Under the Traffic Regulations vehicles which are illegally parked on roads are able to be clamped. The wheel may only be clamped by an approved device and this approved device can only be placed on the car by the police or by any other authorised persons.
A notice will be fixed to the wheel of the vehicle which will provide the details to the owner of the car on how it can be released. This will usually be in the form of a charge to be paid before the clamp is released.
It is a criminal offence to interfere with or try and remove a clamp which has been placed on your car by the police or another authorised person.
Wheel clamping on private land is treated differently as the police do not have the authority to clamp a car parked on private land. Consequently it is an accepted principle of the Courts in England and Wales that it is lawful for a landowner to clamp anyone who is parked on his land without his authority and permission. However, there are certain conditions which the owner of the land must adhere to.
Wheel clampers used by private landowners must have the appropriate licence issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Licensed wheel clampers should wear that SIA licence where you can see it at all times when they are working. There is also a public register of licences run by the SIA whereby you can check if someone holds a valid SIA licence.
Furthermore the following conditions must be adhered to when lawfully clamping on private property:
There must be notices up where you can clearly see them warning that unauthorised vehicles will be clamped
The landowner does not charge more than a reasonable fee to unclamp your vehicle
Your vehicle is released as soon as you have said that you will pay the release fee
There is a way for you to get in touch with the landowner – or their agent – to make arrangements to pay the fee such as a telephone number
If a licensed clamper clamps your vehicle on private property then you will be required to pay a fine before your vehicle is released.
It is a requirement under the SIA licensing scheme that a licensed clamper cannot clamp a vehicle in the following situations:
The vehicle displays a valid disabled badge
The vehicle is marked an emergency service vehicle attending an emergency
If an unlicensed clamper clamps your vehicle then they will be committing a criminal offence. Furthermore it is also a criminal offence for anyone to employ the services of an unlicensed wheel clamper.
A wheel clamper clamping your vehicle on private land must provide you with the following information when releasing your vehicle after payment:
The place where the vehicle was clamped
Their name and signature
Their SIA licence number
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