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Pensioner is hit by clamping firm

PUBLISHED: 15:19 01 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:07 11 August 2010

Charles Harris

Charles Harris

A PENSIONER has been forced to fork out £465 after his car was clamped in a pub car park. Charles Harris was targeted by a wheel clamping company after he parked his car outside the Railway Hotel pub in Shafter Road, Dagenham. The 72-year-old ex-royal m

A PENSIONER has been forced to fork out £465 after his car was clamped in a pub car park.

Charles Harris was targeted by a wheel clamping company after he parked his car outside the Railway Hotel pub in Shafter Road, Dagenham.

The 72-year-old ex-royal marine had planned to run a couple of errands and hadn't seen the sign saying that parking bays were for customers only.

When he returned less than five minutes later, he was shocked to see a couple of men crouching down by his car wheels. They explained he was parking illegally and issued him with the massive fine.

"I couldn't believe it. I'd gone into the betting shop to put a bet on for my grandchild and hadn't noticed the signs.

"Then these men told me if that if I didn't pay the money the car would be taken away."

The pensioner, from Dagenham, was forced to pay the fine by credit card.

He said: "I don't have a problem with paying a parking fine, but this is daylight robbery. It's nearly a whole month's pension."

Mr Harris said it was the first time in his life that he'd been given a parking ticket.

He added that the fine had hit him hard financially, and that he had had to scrap plans for home improvement work this winter.

He said: "We've had a problem with our heating, and had planned to have extensive work done. But now we just won't be able to afford it."

Mr Harris says he thinks that that the government should bring in a law which puts a cap on the amount that clamping companies are allowed to charge.

At present there is no limit - a code of conduct from the British Parking Association says that the release fee should not be more than £125, but only members need abide by it.

A spokesperson from the association said: "At the moment it is not compulsory for a clamping company to be member of an accredited trade association, which means that they can charge what they want; but we are lobbying government to change this."

She added that the amount of fine Mr Harris had been forced to pay was 'much too high.'


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