A Cheshire wheel clamper has been sentenced to 160 hours unpaid work after being found guilty of working without an SIA licence. Iain Watson was sentenced at Crewe Magistrates Court today (Thurs 12 Nov). He was ordered to pay compensation of £246.30 and £95 to two members of the public who had their vehicles clamped, as well as £600 in costs. Following numerous complaints about Watson made to the police by members of the public; an investigation was launched by Cheshire Police, closely supported by the Security Industry Authority. This revealed that Watson, who worked for Crewe-based Clamping Enforcement Agency Limited, was working as a vehicle immobiliser – demanding release fees from motorists and removing the lock from a clamp – despite not holding an SIA license.
Watson appeared at a two-day hearing at Crewe Magistrates Court on 19 and 20 October 2009 where he plead not guilty to four offences of working without an SIA licence (Section 3 Private Security Industry Act 2001). During the trial he changed his plea to guilty to one of those offences and was found guilty of a further two. He was found not guilty on the remaining charge. The district judge told the court that from the evidence heard, the fact that Watson wore a uniform including a stab vest, and that he was actively engaged in discussions with motorists, he was satisfied that Watson was engaged in licensable activity which required an SIA licence.
The offences related to incidents on 9 January 2009 where Watson was found guilty of removing the lock from a clamped vehicle at the rear of Breedon House in Crewe; 9 January 2009 where he plead guilty to towing a vehicle away at Earnswood Medical Centre, Victoria Street in Crewe; and 13 January 2009 at Earnswood Medical Centre where he was found guilty of taking payment to remove a clamp. During an earlier hearing, Watson’s wife Linda Watson, the sole director of Clamping Enforcement Agency Limited, pleaded not-guilty to employing an unlicensed vehicle immobiliser. She is awaiting trial at Crown Court.
SIA head of investigation Lucia Howland said: “This case has been an excellent example of partnership working between police and the SIA – reducing the numerous complaints made to police and the consequent use of police resources in response. The clamping of vehicles illegally without being in possession of a valid an SIA licence will not be tolerated.”