Anthony Potter prosecutes Operation Rapture car clamping sentence

Tue, 21 Feb 2012

FIVE men and a woman are to be sentenced for conspiring to defraud motorists out of hundreds of thousands of pounds in a car clamping scam that wreaked misery across the West Midlands.
Andrew Minshull, Simon Barry, Christopher Cartwight, Lloyd Isherwood, Andrew Minshull, Faisal Qadeer and Debbie Worton are all due to appear at Worcester Crown Court today for sentencing after previously each pleading guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud motorists between March 2006 and August 2009.
Yesterday, the court heard how more than 100 people complained about the way their cars were clamped by Midland Parking Contracts, also known as MPC, which was owned by 38-year-old Minshull, of Hatfield Close, Redditch.
Anthony Potter, prosecuting, said: ‘‘It’s clear that MPC was not run in a responsible manner, instead its owner and staff saw it as a licence to print money, frequently exploiting vulnerable members of the public.”
It is believed MPC made up to £500,000 during the three-year period, charging motorists £125 to release their vehicles from clamps and £170 if tow trucks were called. If the vehicle was towed away, £335 was charged before it was returned.
Mr Potter said signs warning cars would be clamped were either obscured, hidden away, or even only put up after a car had been clamped.
The clampers would “sit in wait for victims”, clamping cars within minutes of them being parked at 19 sites across the West Midlands, including Coventry, Nuneaton, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, he added.
In some cases the clampers would charge release fees, even to people who had returned to their vehicles before they had been clamped. The clampers, who were described as “burley, intimidating and aggressive”, even picked on motorists with mental problems and brought a woman and her five-year-old granddaughter to tears, said Mr Potter.
He said the Redditch-based firm was run with “ruthless efficiency”, with Barry, 38, of Lilac Close, Evesham, being a clamper as well as scouting out new hot spots to operate.
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