Q&A: What can be done about wheel clampers? I was on some land recently, no signs, left my car, returned later and had to pay £120 for the privilege of going home. Will this never end?

Q: What can be done about wheel clampers? I was on some land recently, no signs, left my car, returned later and had to pay £120 for the privilege of going home. Will this never end?

Answe: The Government has finally realized that the rip off clamping cowboys must be curbed. An Act of Parliament was passed which led to the recent introduction of the Security Industry Authority. The Authority covers the whole of the private security industry and, relief all round, this includes wheel clampers.

Anyone who is involved in wheel clamping or towing away other cars now has to be licensed. This includes not just the clampers and towers but also the supervisors, managers and directors. It doesn’t matter whether the wheel clampers are employees or provide their services to other organizations (such as car parks) under contract. They will all need a licence. If they fail to get a licence they will commit a criminal offence.

The first licensing schemes have not yet come into force, watch this space, but hopefully the cowboys will be routed and herded back into the OK Corral. Last time I asked the questions concerning the newly installed cameras in the Limehouse Link Tunnel. Thank you to all readers who took the time to reply. I am now an expert. I quote in full with one writer’s permission whose only condition was I preserve his/her anonymity, in case a summons follows! And as a reputable solicitor, where client confidentiality always comes first (well, almost always) I am happy to give it.

“It appears the speed cameras have recently been placed within the tunnel. Despite being painted yellow, they are positioned at the ceiling of the tunnel and aren’t exactly easy to spot when negotiating the tunnel (or the appalling calibre of drivers who often use it!).

Nevertheless, I noted that road markings have been painted within the last week, thus it is conceivable the camera are now in operation (or if not they will be very soon).

I have counted three cameras. When approaching from the Docklands travelling towards the City, I have witnessed a camera immediately upon entering the tunnel. The second is just after the point at which traffic from Canary Wharf merges into the link and the third is at immediately before the exit.

A key concern, though I am not sure whether it is fact or rumour, is that these cameras supposedly have the ability to determine one’s average speed.

Given that the cameras are digital and linked permanently to the Metropolitan Police Centre in Kent, I am informed that even if one does not exceed the speed limit when travelling through the marked section of road within the camera’s view, the time and registration plate is recorded (presumably using similar image recognition technology to that of the Congestion Charging system).

Thus, if one were to exceed the speed limit when travelling between the cameras, a computer calculates one’s average speed based on the time one is photographed passing through each subsequent camera.”

Any questions concerning this or other topics (together with any more information on speed cameras) can be emailed to Peter Johnson on aj@london-law.co.uk .