COW­BOY CLAM­PERS JAILED They made £500k from driv­ers

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

FIVE car clam­pers who “milked” £500,000 out of the public have been jailed for a to­tal of eight years.

Mid­land Park­ing Con­tracts used un­der­hand tac­tics and in­tim­i­dated driv­ers into part­ing with up to £335 a time to un­clamp ve­hi­cles and “can­cel” tow-trucks which had not been called out.

Money was even de­manded be­fore clamps had been ap­plied, and un­lit signs were used at night.

Worces­ter Crown Court heard that the con­spir­acy may have net­ted up to £500,000, although the judge ac­cepted that, if the fig­ure was ac­cu­rate, some of it may have been le­git­i­mate in­come.

Op­er­at­ing at a to­tal of 19 sites, An­drew Min­shull’s firm was the sub­ject of a lon­grun­ning joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing West Mer­cia cops and Worces­ter­shire’s trad­ing stan­dards depart­ment.

The in­quiry was prompted by hun­dreds of com­plaints from mem­bers of the public.

The con­spir­acy’s vic­tims, in­clud­ing me­ter readers for water and power com­pa­nies, a dis­abled woman dis­play­ing a blue badge and an NHS worker trans­port­ing blood sam­ples, were tar­geted in Red­ditch, Nuneaton, Eve­sham, Worces­ter, Coven­try, Broms­grove, and Chel­tenham be­tween March 2006 and Au­gust 2009.

An­drew Min­shull, Deb­bie Wor­ton, Si­mon Barry, Faisal Qadeer and Christopher Cartwright re­mained im­pas­sive in the dock as Judge John Cavell con­demned them for “milk­ing” the public out of up to £500,000. Pass­ing cus­to­dial sen­tences rang­ing be­tween 12 and 32 months, Judge Cavell said Min­shull’s firm, Red­ditch­based Mid­land Park­ing Con­tracts, had of­ten tar­geted and ex­ploited the vul­ner­a­ble.

Min­shull, de­scribed by the judge as the “main man” at the rogue firm, was jailed for 32 months, while his ex-part­ner, Deb­bie Wor­ton – the “public face of the com­pany” – was sen­tenced to 12 months.

All pleaded guilty to fraud.



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