500,000 clampings take place annually on private land
Private wheel clampers take up to £55m from drivers each year, new government figures have revealed. Around 500,000 clampings take place annually on private land.
There is an average release fee of £112 and almost all are paid. This leads to release fees of £54.9m.
But legislation due to come into force early next year will make clamping on private land a criminal offence.
If they break the law, rogue clampers will be liable to an unlimited fine in the Crown Court or up to £5,000 in a Magistrates court.
Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said: “For too long motorists have fallen victims to extortion and abuse from rogue clamping companies.
“I have been outraged by cases of drivers being frog-marched to cash points late at night or left stranded by rogue operators who have towed their vehicle away. Clearly this is unacceptable.
“By criminalising clamping and towing on private land this government is committing rogue clampers to history and putting an end to intimidation and excessive charges once and for all.”
The clamping ban will only apply to private land and will not change existing lawful authority, such as traffic enforcement by local authorities and police on highways.