Scores of drivers lodge legal cases over Cosham car park clamping firm

CLAMP WOE Penny Mordaunt at the Cosham car park behind Iceland. Picture: Paul Jacobs (113552-1)
CLAMP WOE Penny Mordaunt at the Cosham car park behind Iceland. Picture: Paul Jacobs (113552-1)
Miss JC Newbald is pictured with an assistant, Mrs G Cowd

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SCORES of motorists have lodged cases to the small claims court in Portsmouth over parking fines issued by a controversial wheel-clamping firm.

In total, 40 people that were caught out by City Watch Enforcement at car parks behind High Street, Cosham are looking to get fines of more than £205 back.

The motorists were clamped between July and August last year, the time a judge ruled that parking signs were unclear.

The ruling came after driver Luke Stopforth won his court battle against City Watch after he felt he was unfairly clamped during that time.

But three months after the end of the case, The News has learnt the clampers haven’t coughed up the £205 clamping fee plus £25 court costs they were ordered to pay back within 28 days.

An appeal by City Watch was recently rejected.

When contacted by The News, Mr Stopforth, 25, of Second Avenue, Farlington, declined to comment because he did not want to jeopardise further action he may take against the clampers.

Yesterday, city MP Penny Mordaunt sent a letter to the car parks’ managing agent Lee Baron to notify it that City Watch hadn’t paid up.

She said: ‘I understand that City Watch has still not made arrangements to reimburse Mr Stopforth, nor have they attempted to make contact with him, and the 28 day time limit imposed is well overdue.

‘I am looking to see if Lee Baron has a view on the subject, given that the clamping firm has shown little regard for a ruling made by the small claims court.

A further 260 drivers who were clamped after the signs were improved by Lee Baron last summer have asked Ms Mordaunt’s office advice on how to appeal.

Ms Mordaunt added: ‘I’m interested to hear about Lee Baron’s views with regards to the other individuals who were also clamped and fined during the same time as Mr Stopforth and whether they should be refunded given this most recent judgement.’

Portsmouth City Council is due to take over parking duties at the car parks once City Watch’s notice period is up. The clampers are expected to leave sometime this month.

Wheel clamping on private land is due to be outlawed by the end of the year under the Protection of Freedoms Bill.

The police, DVLA and local authorities will then only have the power to clamp vehicles. Neither Lee Baron or City Watch were available for comment.