Police investigate ‘illegal clamping’ in Romford town centre

A sophisticated illegal clamping gang is believed to have been targeting unsuspecting motorists in Romford town centre, Havering Police said.

The cowboy outfit is thought to have been operating “on a huge scale” and is likely to have netted the architects many thousand of pounds, a police source said.

Police believe the rogue traders targeted cars parked in private land without a license and without permission of the land owner.

Clampers routinely bill drivers anything between �100 to �500 for removal of clamps and in towing and storage charges.

The clampers have been working at the back of numbers 80-86, in South Street, back of Betfred bookies in South Street, and at the back of Northwood Lettings Agency in Victoria Road.

Scott Wilding, co-director of Northwood, said: “We have ceased using this company and are in the process of taking down the signs.”

It is thought the gang had been operating in south Essex before more recently moving in on Havering.

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Now officers want anyone who believes they have been a victim to come forward.

Anyone with information can contact Pc Anthony Kiddle at Romford Police Station on: 0300 123 1212.

Two men have been arrested for illegal clamping and bailed pending further investigation.

Andrew Howard, head of public affairs at the AA, said: “We are always glad to see an investigation. We would never insinuate that all clampers are illegal but some hover very close to the line.

“Wheel-clamping is in its final months now and clampers are drinking at the last chance saloon, we urge motorist to be careful when parking because of this.”

There are more than 2,000 licensed clampers operating in the UK, but all will be banned under new legislation due to come into force this summer.

Under the new Bill, clampers will face fines and a criminal record

The Home Office estimates clampers are costing motorists around �55million a year.