Opposite our old office location was a piece of land that was owned by a nasty piece of work who rarely visited it (as there was nothing to see but a flat piece of tarmac) but nevertheless still felt that no-one else should have the use of it, even if he didn’t want it – so he appointed some criminals to act as wheel clampers on it.
I can happily use the word criminals because
a) The police officers who visited told us they were.
b) They boasted about their jail time to us.
So criminals then, licensed to operate as wheel clampers, wonderful, and here are we thinking that the act of making them register with a trade organisation would clean up the industry.
Just in front of the piece of land was a row of shops and a bank so the land was a magnet for those who did not know of the work of clampers, and a honey pot for the clampers, £90 release fee, £30 to the landowner, £30 to the clamping company, £30 to the clampers themselves (as told to us by the criminals), no receipts, no cheques, cash only, no audit or paperwork issued at all, a criminals charter and on many occasions we watched from our office window as they scammed a dozen or so shoppers and then went to the pub over the road with the proceeds – I expect that they were probably writing up their tax returns, oh yes.
And then one day a man and woman with a young child parked on the piece of land, left their car, returned to find it clamped, spoke in a heated manner to the clampers and then removed all of their personal possessions, locked the car and walked off, they’d decided that the old banger wasn’t worth £90.
The clampers weren’t happy of course because they had to leave a clamp on the car for several days just in case the owner came back and during that time lots of people drove onto the land, saw a clamped car and then drove straight off, although on a couple of occasions we did see some buffoons actually park next to the clamped car and walk away looking at it with a puzzled look on their face, some people actually deserve to be clamped.
After three or four days, it being obvious that the owners didn’t want the car, one of the clampers appeared to decide that he would rather like to have it for himself and so armed with a crowbar and a screwdriver he managed to open a door and spent some time with his head underneath the steering wheel trying to get it to start.
And then the police turned up.
It wasn’t me who called them, honest.
But it might have been someone else in my office.
And it might have been someone from the dry cleaners opposite who’s customers were always getting clamped, or it might have been someone from the bank, or the estate agent, in fact afterwards several people owned up to being the ones who rang for the police to report a car theft in progress, and maybe they all did, all at the same time.
Off he went to jail for attempted theft of a car whilst on parole, oh how we laughed.
And then the next day, having been advised by the police that it needed moving, the original owner turned up and drove off in his now unclamped car.
A win/win situation if ever I saw one.