Angry driver took gang to confront wheel clamper over £260 fee

AN angry driver who felt he was being “ripped off” by the fee he was expected to pay to get his car back from clampers took his brother and two other men with him for a confrontation, a court heard.

Shaun Barnes had been told he would have to pay £260 to get his vehicle returned but went along intending to take it for free.

He and the others arrived in three vehicles and they then approached the truck driver and his passenger demanding his car be released to him,

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One of the group was carrying a crowbar and Shaun Barnes had a Stanley knife which he used to slash the struts securing his car to the trailer.

Simon Batiste, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday truck driver Saquid Hafeez feared if he did not comply he would be hit and did release the winch enabling Barnes to drive off at speed.

The car had been clamped on July 30 last year when it was parked on private land at the back of West Point flats, Wellington Street, Leeds.

Mr Batiste said there were signs warning what would happen around the site. After being clamped the vehicle was then taken away to a storage facility in Wakefield by Mr Hafeez, who worked for SAS Recovery.

Shaun Barnes contacted the West Yorkshire Clamping Service and was told by the manager the car would be returned for him to collect for the £260 fee and it was then arranged for Mr Hafeez to do that.

He had a passenger with him and was waiting for the clamping manager to arrive with the paper work when Barnes, his brother Samuel and two other men arrived.

A Land Rover Freelander was then parked blocking the trailer in and the confrontation then followed.

Shaun Barnes, 21 of Brookfield Gardens, Rodley, Leeds was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £350 costs.

His brother Samuel, 20, was given nine months’ detention in a young offender institution suspended for two years with 100 hours unpaid work, a condition of attending an anger management programme and £400 costs. Both brothers admitted affray.

Sentencing them Mr Justice Butterfield said the arrival of their “gang” must have been a frightening sight for those responsible for removing the vehicle.

He accepted Barnes was angry and frustrated but that was no excuse for their behaviour.

“You behaved in an extremely threatening, distressing and unpleasant way that afternoon and this was in my judgment a bad case of its sort.”

James Keeley for Shaun Barnes said he felt he was “being ripped off” and overcharged to recover his vehicle but regretted his actions.

Allan Armbrister for Samuel Barnes said he acted out of misguided loyalty.