Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Just desserts ...and this is where the law DOES concern itself with trifles!

Daily Mail
27th May 2010

'Just desserts': Andrew Baker, 29, outside Birmingham Crown Court. He has been jailed for two years over a car clamping scam
A rogue car clamper who fleeced more than 100 victims out of tens of thousands of pounds was jailed yesterday for two years.

Andrew Baker targeted motorists whether they were legitimately parked or not, clamping their cars within minutes of them arriving at car parks across three towns or cities.

Many of the 29-year-old's 'vulnerable' victims were accompanied by children while others were left stranded or in tears after being 'held to ransom' by staff from his Inter Park UK firm.

A court heard ruthless Baker made at least £12,105 from the scam, but that figure was calculated only on the earnings he accrued from the 36 victims who were prepared to give evidence against him.

It means the true figure is more likely to be up to three times more than that amount.

The firm made as much as £3,000-a-day after charging motorists up to £445 to release their vehicles from car parks across Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Milton Keynes.
The firm, which was set up in 2005, claimed on its website to be working 'closely alongside Trading Standards and West Midlands Police', a ploy, the judge said which was intended to give the operation a 'false cloak of legitimacy'.

But Baker had failed to obtain a licence to run the business, despite being warned to do so by the Security Industries Authority and Trading Standards teams.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that the firm operated largely out of small, on-street car parks. But while Inter Park UK did clamp some motorists who were parked illegally, many were targeted despite displaying a valid pay and display ticket.

Often the firm's signs warning motorists they could be clamped were so small or poorly lit they could not easily be seen.

Baker, a career criminal with previous convictions for burglary, robbery, obtaining property by deception, harassment and theft, was jailed today following an investigation by Birmingham City Council's Trading Standards.

Sentencing, Judge Philip Parker QC told him motorists had been 'bullied, robbed or in ordinary terms fleeced'.
He added: 'Your website was a travesty of the truth by suggesting you worked closely with Trading Standards and the police.
"It was clothed with a false cloak of legitimacy, and to that extent as a fraud it was cruel.'

The conman, from Shard End, Birmingham, had previously admitted conspiracy to defraud drivers between March 2007 and March 2008.

Two of his accomplices, Mohammed Islam, and Gary Gwilliam, were sentenced in court alongside Baker and were fined £500 each after admitting false representation.
Islam, 47, from Bordesley Green, Birmingham, and Gwilliam, 54, from Bentley, Walsall, were also ordered to pay back £325 and £365 respectively to two motorists they had cheated out of cash.

One of Inter Park's victims, Russell Williams, 40, from Moseley, Birmingham, said outside court that Baker had received his 'just desserts'.
In January, Ministers announced the creation of an independent tribunal offering drivers the prospect of obtaining unlimited compensation from clampers following a victorious Daily Mail campaign.

The Mail's Curb the Cowboy Clampers campaign was aimed at ending the £1billion-a-year 'legalised mugging' racket operated by unregulated firms.


Anonymous said...

It's spelled "deserts".

Neil Herron said...

'twas a play on words ...

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