Hornchurch clampers ‘out of control’

A COMMUNITY is fighting back against a company of “extortionate” clampers which they say put up signs and started clamping the same day.

Hornchurch drivers claim LBS Enforcement erected warning signs at lunchtime on October 22 behind the new Circle 7 shop (formerly Multiyork) in Hornchurch High Street - then clamped motorists who had been there since morning, which LBS denies.

People using and working at the parade of businesses reported fines of as much as �900 and ganged together to warn drivers off.

Now the company which contracted the clampers has told them to get off its land but says LBS is refusing to leave.

Circle 7’s Sharn Samra said: “We’re absolutely horrified, we had no idea they were like that. We just wanted to keep the way clear for our lorries - we don’t approve of what they’ve done.

“They’re holding us to 28 days notice. I’m begging everybody not to park there because we can’t control them.”

Mrs Samra, who admits her family business was “niave” added: “We’re really sorry to the local community. It’s been an absolute nightmare.”

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Ladbrokes cashier Mel Constantino was horrified to be told that her car had been clamped despite being certain there were no signs when she parked.

“They’re a law unto themselves,” she said.

LBS Enforcement denied this was the case, saying it had photographic evidence proving the signs had gone up 24 hours before the first fine. However a man who answered the company phone did not want to share this with Recorder readers.

The spokesman, who refused to give his name, said: “I don’t have to justify anything to you, you’re not the law you’re just a paper.

He added: “There’s not a limited amount that you can charge. To remove a 17-tonne lorry from a site will cost over �500 or �600.”

Akash Restaurant manager Abdul Choudhury has put up warning signs.

“Seven or eight hundred pounds for somebody to park their car is ridiculous. It’s a con,” he said.

Ladbrokes duty manager Terry O’Leary said: “Everybody and their gran is getting clamped - it’s extortion.” adding that LBS operatives had threatened him for warning motorists off.

Mr O’Leary said he witnessed LBS using a pincer movement to trap cars trying to access adjacent shops.

“They block the entrances to the other bits of land and then lurk round the corner so they can see people coming in. Then they park in front of the car and then behind it, clamp it and charge them.”

The company denied these accusations. Its spokesman said: “We’ve got 300 sites all over Essex, they’ve got more sites than that one to worry about. But if somebody was waiting for an offender to park there would be nothing wrong with that.”

A ban on clamping on private land is due to be introduced in the Government’s Freedom Bill this month and come into force early next year.