Cosham clampers take an estimated £40,000 in just one month

23/8/2011 (MOL)''Amy Jones (25) who was clamped on Tuesday 23rd August 2011 at the pay and display car park in Old Market Road, Cosham.''Picture: Sarah Standing (113010-511)
23/8/2011 (MOL)''Amy Jones (25) who was clamped on Tuesday 23rd August 2011 at the pay and display car park in Old Market Road, Cosham.''Picture: Sarah Standing (113010-511)

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CONTROVERSIAL car park clampers operating in Cosham have made a staggering £40,000 in parking fines within the last month.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt says she has received 200 complaints in the last month from motorists, most of whom have been fined £205 by clampers at a car park behind High Street, Cosham.

Many feel they have been unfairly clamped and fined by City Watch Enforcement because parking signs have been unclear.

MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘They are raking in the money, it’s ridiculous. I have always maintained that wheel clamping isn’t right.

‘City Watch and other clamping firms purely make their money from fines. All they are concerned about is maximising profits.’

The London clamping firm has been charging motorists a £205 clamp release fee for not displaying a parking ticket.

The company may have pulled in more than the £40,000 estimated because motorists could be paying up and staying silent.

The number of complaints received by Ms Mordaunt indicates that an average of six people a day are being caught out.

Amy Jones, 25, from Commercial Road, Portsmouth, had her car clamped by City Watch. She was slapped with the £205 clamp release fee after she parked and went to the shops for five minutes last week.

Amy, who works as a carer for Primecare Community Services, said: ‘I wasn’t aware that I had to pay to park.

‘I saw some signs but they were small and I could hardly read what they said.

‘I thought the clampers were joking, they just seemed laid back about it. They didn’t really care that I had to pay all that money.’

City Watch was installed at the car park in June by Lee Baron Limited, which manages the car park on behalf of Lionsgate Properties. Lionsgate Properties, based in Enfield, London, leased the land from Portsmouth City Council in a 99-year deal in 1984.

Cllr Jason Fazackarley, who is in charge of traffic and transport at the council, said: ‘City Watch are probably rubbing their hands with glee over the figures. I just can’t see how they can justify charging people £205 a time to have a clamp removed from their vehicle.’

The News joined the battle against the clampers last week after we put up signs warning others they were in force.

Because of our actions LBL have said they will bring in bigger parking signs.

Julie Evans, 53, of The Sandwich Shop, High Street, Cosham, said: ‘We’re very quiet at the moment because of what’s been happening. I’m worried about how it’s affecting businesses in the area.’