FAT BAS­TARDS!

Car clam­pers coined in £350,000 while claim­ing ben­e­fits

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By NEIL GOOD­WIN

THREE cow­boy clam­pers have been jailed af­ter ter­ror­is­ing mo­torists out of £350,000 – while they claimed State ben­e­fits.

The fat-bel­lied thugs wore uni­forms to look of­fi­cial as they lay in wait day and night to bully vul­ner­a­ble mo­torists – of­ten moth­ers with chil­dren.

A court heard their fees were up to an “eye-wa­ter­ing” £500, and they de­manded pay­ment in cash.

Taun­ton Crown Court was told Carl­ton Wil­liams, 47, Lee Stagg, 43, and 30-year-old Michael Rid­dle lurked in shad­ows and pounced on un­sus­pect­ing driv­ers who parked on pri­vate land.

The trio would in­tim­i­date them into hand­ing over large cash sums, while some cars were lifted onto tow trucks with the hor­ri­fied mo­torist still in­side.

They op­er­ated their A1 Clamp­ing Ser­vices from Bridg­wa­ter, Som­er­set, but ex­panded their trade to Tor­bay, Devon, and into Stafford­shire.

They also tar­geted their lo­cal Bridg­wa­ter Car­ni­val in 2006, tow­ing away nu­mer­ous cars.

Wil­liams was jailed for five and a half years, Stag for three years and Rid­dle for 18 months af­ter they ad­mit­ted black­mail charges of £3,775, but po­lice be­lieve they net­ted around £350,000 from their cow­boy ac­tiv­i­ties.

Wil­liams and Stagg also ad­mit­ted they were fid­dling coun­cil tax, hous­ing ben­e­fit and in­come sup­port to the tune of £54,000.

Judge Gra­ham Hume Jones said: “It is clear that in the course of this busi­ness you ex­torted con­sid­er­able sums of money from mem­bers of the pub­lic by ar­ro­gant, bul­ly­ing and ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour.”

Wil­liams was the ring­leader and Rid­dle the clam­per in the firm’s ac­tiv­i­ties be­tween 2005 and 2008.

One vic­tim was Army ma­jor Sally Mendonca, from York, whose car was clamped and towed away when on a visit to Devon.

She thought her ve­hi­cle had been stolen and was about to tell po­lice, adding: “I ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion to the clam­per – I was just back from Iraq for a short time and all my mil­i­tary kit was in the back of the car I needed it ur­gently.

“He laughed and said ‘I just get told these sto­ries all the time’.”

Sgt Paul Endi­cott, from Avon and Som­er­set po­lice, said: “I was shocked by the way they treated peo­ple.

“The judge clearly stated they wore uni­forms to make them look more authen­tic and they bul­lied peo­ple into hand­ing over lots of money for their own prop­erty.”

CLAM­P­DOWN: Carl­ton Wil­liams ( Michael Rid­dle and Lee Stagg must now clamp their

bum cheeks in jail

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