A healthcare worker was forced to spend eight hours trapped in a badly lit car park after clampers disabled her car and then failed to answer the telephone all night.
Caroline Burwood was harrassed by strangers who she believes drove into the deserted spot next to the Empire Cinema in Uxbridge Road to take drugs, and was forced to pay £210 to get the clamp released the next morning.
The 30-year-old had driven from Reading to Ealing for a night out on Friday, October 17, and bought a three-hour ticket at 8.30pm. When she arrived back before midnight she discovered it had been hit with an £80 fine and a clamp - 10 minutes after her ticket expired.
"It wasn't a nice place to spend the night and I'm worried that it might happen to another girl," said the project manager, who persuaded three friends to stay with her while she tried in vain to contact the clampers.
"There were no other cars in the car park and no other people about.
"A man and a woman drove into the car park and tried to engage us in conversation.
"They looked a bit spaced and we couldn't figure out why they had come. I would not have wanted to be there on my own.
"We didn't get much sleep and the only thing we had to keep us warm was a newspaper which I had for recy-cling in my car boot."
Miss Burwood wore out her mobile phone battery trying to get through to London Parking Control, who run clamping operations around Ealing.
"Eventually someone picked up at 7am and said they'd have someone with me in two hours," she said.
"It wasn't the best customer service. There was a complete disregard for our safety."
London Parking Control manager David Thompson said it was standard policy for cars to be clamped at the same time parking tickets were issued. He said there had been a phone problem which prevented Miss Burwood from getting through to the night porter.
"We don't have people releasing clamps in the middle of the night because it puts their lives in danger," he said.
"I don't know why she decided to stay in her car; it's not the nicest car park in the world.
"It's not our intention to put anyone at risk and I feel sorry for her. I sent out the first unit that came on shift.
"But she did park illegally in the car park. She should have paid and displayed with the correct ticket, and then none of this would have ever happened."