Victory at last for the driver over the clamper

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It’s been a highly controversial issue, one which has attracted many column inches in The News over the past few months.

Clampers patrolling a car park behind Cosham High Street have caught out hundreds of drivers, many having to pay a small fortune just to get their cars back.

So the court victory for motorist Luke Stopforth over City Watch Enforcement obviously comes as good news.

Yes, no-one likes being clamped and sometimes if you flout the rules, you end up getting fined.

If you park on a double yellow line or exceed your time limit in a council-run car park then you expect a penalty.

But it was clear from the start that the small signs put up were inadequate.

The car park had previously been free for many years.

So when the charges were enforced last year, it was only right that clearly-worded signs of a good size were put up to warn drivers.

That’s why those calling The News were so incensed they had been clamped – they simply hadn’t been aware.

Now a judge at Portsmouth County Court has agreed, saying that the signs were unclear and that Mr Stopforth should not have been clamped.

City Watch Enforcement must pay back the £205 fine, plus £25 costs. And, importantly, this paves the way for other motorists who were clamped to get their money back through the courts.

But, given the ruling, we say City Watch Enforcement shouldn’t wait for the court cases to start rolling in; they should write to every driver they clamped between the beginning of June and July 23 last year – when the court ruled the signs were inadequate – offering to give their money back.

Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt has vowed to keep up the pressure. She must be applauded for the work her office has done to pursue the matter through the courts. No matter what happens, City Watch Enforcement will no longer be at the car park from June, with the city council taking over.

We hope a national ban on clamping will follow shortly after.