Wheel clamping on Private land

There is a myth or legend going around the landowning and motoring circles of the United Kingdom that clamping on private land had been, before its unlamented demise on 1 October 2012, some kind of abode of ‘rogues,’ ‘cowboys’ and ‘ruffians.’

This article is here to tell you that the opposite was largely true and that the few wide boys operating on the fringes of the law were the cause of the outlawing of the clamp on private land. The authorities were then and are now ever vigilant in this avenue, as in many others.

The then rules stated that a landowner could clamp only when:

  • He had already put up warning signs in visually prominent positions advertising that unpermitted vehicles would be clamped
  • He used a licensed wheel clamping company, the licence being from the Security Industry Authority
  • The clamping company made a reasonable charge
  • The persons involved released the vehicle as soon as the owner said he would pay
  • There was a line of communication between the motorist and either or both of the landowner or the clamping company

Anything less would be illegal.

Before 1 October 2012 there had been emphasis on the property owner using only licensed clampers and the fact that the use of an unlicensed one would be a criminal offence.

Furthermore the clamper had to wear a badge displaying his SIA licence. Doubtful members of the public could check the SIA register of clampers.

Before 1 October 2012 one could be clamped only in situations such as parking on the car park of a customers’ only business when one was not a customer, parking on a residents only area when one is not a resident, parking on a company’s car park when one was not an employee if that was the precondition, overstaying, not showing a parking ticket well and parking on more than one space.

Therefore, the then rules and regulations had been strict and the clamping ban happened because of the small number of fast-and-loose characters sailing close to the wind.