Clamp down on private clampers is just the ticket

Parking fines
Good news! From today, wheel clamping on private land is a criminal offence.

However, motoring associations are warning drivers that they could still be unfairly penalised by unscrupulous tactics from private parking enforcers.

While today's clamping ban does not include clamping activities carried out the DLVA, police and some other government agencies, the clamping of motorists' cars by private companies on private land is banned.

But to make sure they are not out of pocket, private operators have turned to issuing parking tickets to earn money.

It is feared ex-cowboy clampers are turning their hand to issuing illegal tickets – some using the same kind of threatening behaviour they used when they were clamping.

But the AA says these cowboy clampers have no right to demand money from motorists if they are illegally parked. Unlike a company which is part of the British Parking Association (BPA), a cowboy clamper cannot obtain a "vehicle keepers" address from the DVLA.

The AA has issued advice to motorists who find a parking charge notice on their car.

Headlining the good practice is to check for signs outlining the parking rules. If motorists believe they have been unfairly "ticketed", they should get evidence to challenge it.

If they agree with the ticket, drivers should pay it as soon as possible - but they shouldn't pay in cash; this is a tactic from ex-cowboy clampers – BPA members ask for payment in the post or by credit card.

Lastly, if motorists don't think the ticket is justified and it was issued by a BPA member, motorists should challenge the firm by writing to them outlining why.

If the ticket not justified and it was not issued by a BPA member, gather evidence and wait for the outfit to take you to court.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has found that the majority of people are uninformed about the laws surrounding tickets and has called for more advice.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Road users need to understand the rules of parking in order to abide by them, and industry and government information about the new system is woefully inadequate."