A DRIVER who was involved in an eight-hour stand-off with 'cowboy clampers' has vowed to fight back.
Neelam Bahal, of West Drayton, is looking to mount a legal challenge after handing over more than £500 to remove a clamp last Monday (21) afternoon, in the private car park next to the Hayes Job Centre, off Uxbridge Road.
Mrs Bahal and her husband stayed put to prevent being towed by West Drayton-based Frontline Parking Services, and called the police at 3.30pm. It wasn't until after 10pm when they arrived, at which time officers told them that they could not intervene in the matter, and they should hand over the money.
Mrs Bahal said of the incident: "My husband had actually gone into the centre to see whether we were allowed to park there, and before I knew it the clamp was fixed. They were insisting that I hand over £150 to remove the clamp, £150 for the tow truck which never appeared, plus £60 in VAT."
'Vehicle immobilisers' hired by private landowners can operate provided they are licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). SIA guidelines state that cars with a valid disabled badge shouldn't be clamped – a detail which is not lost on the Bahals.
"We are badge holders because my mother is disabled and we had just given her a lift to the shops - she was left waiting outside the supermarket because of this mess. We didn't know any better at the time, but it is in black and white."
She added: "While we sat there, they would come knocking on the window every hour and tell us that the fine was climbing every hour. They also kept removing and putting on new clamps which damaged the alloys."
Mrs Bahal alleges that she initially handed over £150 just for the clamp, but later was made to pay another £360.
"£510 is a lot of money for anyone, particularly when it is for no good reason. It was plain extortion and injustice, and the law is helpless to these cowboy clampers."
Frontline Parking Services were unavailable for comment despite repeated calls.
The Protection of Freedoms Bill 2011, which will make clamping on private land illegal in England and Wales, was introduced in February. It is expected to become law by the end of the year.
Last August, Haroon Zafaryab, of Kingsbury, staged a 30-hour protest after clampers demanded £365 on the spot for parking behind a parade of shops in Wembley.
In this case, the contractors waived the towing fee and took £100 for parking without a permit.
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