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Rogue car clamper who stole pay-and-display tickets from legally parked cars walks free... after judge is told he's HONEST

Published 01st Feb 2012

* Targeted cars with open windows and used a cane to
dislodge tickets
* Also clamped cars before tickets had run out,
pocketing £100 a time

A rogue car clamper who made thousands of pounds by towing away vehicles after stealing their pay-and-display tickets walked free from court today.

Marcus Foley’s victims had to fork out up to £300 to have their vehicles freed.

Nicola O’Connor was even ordered to pay after the soft-top roof of her Suzuki Vitara was ripped open so the ticket could be removed from the windscreen.

Foley, 20, deliberately targeted cars with open windows and used a bamboo cane to dislodge the valid tickets before demanding a £300 release fee from the compound.

Coventry Crown Court heard how he pocketed up to £100 for every car he clamped and got towed away between 2009 and 2010.

He later admitted four charges of defrauding his victims out of money and one of fraudulently acquiring an identity badge as a clamper.

But Judge Robert Orme said jailing Foley would be a ‘retrograde step’ - after receiving a letter from his employer describing him as ‘honest’ and ‘punctual’.

Sentencing him to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, he said: ‘You are a competent young man and have to make the most of your abilities - instead of working for crooks.

‘You were involved in threatening car clamping activities.

‘These acts were prevalent not only in Birmingham but also in other cities across the UK in recent years - which have rightly resulted in custodial sentences.

‘What you did would simply involve wrongly charging motorists - by either removing their tickets or pretending they were not valid, before putting pressure on them to pay up to have the clamping removed.

‘The manner in which this occurred involved threats and a menacing attitude.

‘One of your victims was Doreen Baker, she was elderly - she was very distressed indeed when she was threatened and had to hand over a large amount of money.

The court heard several victims complained to Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards claiming their cars - all parked in the same Roses car park in Digbeth, Birmingham - were wrongly clamped.

Timothy Hannam, prosecuting, told Coventry Crown Court at an earlier hearing that Foley bullied dozens of motorists by ‘menacingly’ demanding they hand over cash ‘or never see their car again’.

He said: ‘The defendant was rude and aggressive and would defraud and extort money from motorists.

‘Sometimes tickets were dislodged and moved in a CCTV black-spot in the compound.

‘He would demand more than £300 to release the vehicles and this was often done menacingly - the threat being that the fee would be paid or the vehicle would not be seen again.’

On one occasion Foley clamped a driver after the ticket had fallen onto the front seat.

After the driver confronted him about the ticket, Foley replied: ‘It’s f**king tough’.

Foley also threatened frail pensioner Doreen Baker, in her 70s, and her elderly sister after she bought a £2 ticket to park all day.

When she returned to her car which Foley had clamped and he demanded she pay £175 to release the vehicle claiming the ticket was not visible.

Mr Hannam told the court: ‘Mrs Baker began crying and shaking as the defendant threatened to have the car towed away.’

At the time of the offences Foley, from Quinton, Birmingham, was employed by firm Car Clamping Securities (CCS), which is still operating.

The court heard CCS trapped motorists by tampering with machines so they printed out invalid tickets.

Clampers would then swoop on the vehicles before towing them to their compound in Ladywood, Birmingham.

Last February CCS boss Steven Ryan was jailed for 30 months after being convicted of conspiracy to defraud motorists.

Trading Standards’ Operations Manager, Vir Ahluwalia, said in some instances Foley had removed pay and display parking tickets from vehicles before clamping them - claiming they never had a ticket.

He said: ‘Some of the people he conned were elderly and terrified by his aggressive and bullying tactics.

‘We even found pictures on Foley’s phone of tickets in people’s cars who he claimed had not had a ticket or exceeded their time.

‘It seemed he was hell-bent on clamping people and making as much money as possible.’

Foley, who served six months in a young offenders institute on weapons offences last year, was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, by Judge Orme.

He was also ordered to complete a 12 month supervision order, wear an electronic tag for three months and be under a curfew between 9pm and 6am during that time.

The defendant was also ordered to undergo an intervention programme - to understand his victim’s anger - and pay £1,000 compensation to them.

Michelle Caverns was given £300, Doreen Baker £500 and Andrew Williams £200.

Foley refused to comment when leaving court.

Cameron - wonder why so many decent people have decided to leave your UK or is it now UK ??

Source: ' Daily Mail '

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