WHEN motorist Paul Wiseman began to feel seriously unwell a Good Samaritan appeared to be close at hand.
But the man who for called an ambulance was also a car clamper. After calling the emergency service he then continued to clamp his vehicle as Mr Wiseman was sent to hospital gasping for air.
Paul Wiseman had pulled over in a no-parking zone when he started to feel unwell but was targeted by an employee of the clamping firm Carstoppers Ltd as soon as he had stopped.
The 55-year-old father-of-two claimed he tried to stop employee Gareth Evans clamping his vehicle but was so ill that he slumped against his Mercedes van while he was struggling for breath.
Mr Wiseman, of Keighley, says Mr Evans then paused to call an ambulance but continued to clamp the van as Mr Wiseman was rushed away with blue lights flashing from the scene in Skipton.
Mr Wiseman, who runs his own cutting tool distribution business, said: “I pulled over in Devonshire Place when I started to feel ill at about 1pm.
“I didn’t realise it was the back of a business premises, I just needed to stop because I didn’t feel right.
“My son Chris had jumped out of the car to get me a sandwich.
“While I was waiting I saw this car come hurtling up to me and pull in front.
“This man rushed towards me carrying the yellow clamp and I got out to ask him what he was doing.
“I stood in front so he couldn't do it.
“He was trying to get me out of the way so I pushed him backwards. I felt unwell, exhausted and was struggling to get my breath.
“And when I turned towards the van door I collapsed onto the floor of the van.
“He got out his phone and rang for an ambulance, but even though he could see I was unwell, he started to clamp my car.
“I wasn't in any fit state to control what was going on and to take advantage of someone in my position is despicable.
“I’m furious about it now but at the time I was more concerned about what was wrong with me.”
He said his son Chris was confronted by Mr Evans, who handed him a document that said he would have to pay £150 to release the clamp.
“Obviously Chris was worried about me and wanted to come with me to hospital so there was no point in arguing,” said Mr Wiseman.
“He had no choice but to go to the nearest cash machine, draw out the money and hand it over.”
Mr Wiseman, father to Chris, 23, and Gemma, 28, was in hospital until around 5pm as his blood pressure ‘had shot up’.
He is now awaiting further tests to find out what caused his illness.
The clamping company is no stranger to controversy: in 2003, they were given the Dick Turpin Award by the RAC for being the nation’s worst clamper,
In 2005, they hit the headlines when they clamped a minibus taking special needs pupils to a nearby beauty spot,
In 2007, an employee of the company was threatened with an ASBO after hundreds of motorists complained about over-zealous tactics,
Last month, a man claimed he was targeted as he stopped to tune his car radio.
Brian Reid claimed he was blocked in and clamped and then told to hand over the fine within two minutes before it automatically doubled.
He said he stopped his Porsche Cayenne in a car park in Skipton to let his wife Naomi out and was preparing to drive to another car park when he was spotted by the firm’s owner, Mr Evans.
He had his engine running and was tuning his radio when Mr Evans blocked the Porsche into a tight space with his Land Rover.
The retired plumber said: “He jumped into the back of the Land Rover and got something out. I didn’t know what he was doing and the next thing I saw him fly under the car. I got out and he was putting a clamp on.”
Mr Wiseman said he is boycotting businesses that use the firm, adding: “Their approach is very aggressive and their actions could lead to somebody becoming seriously ill. There are much better ways for businesses to prevent parking without resorting to car clampers."
A Carstoppers spokesman said the incident involving Mr Wiseman, like all others, was recorded on video and he was confident the clamping was carried out within the law. He stressed there were signs explaining clampers were operating.
The spokesman said: “Businesses in Skipton were sick to death of people using their parking areas for free.
“People have commented that parking fees are too high in Skipton.
“People choose to chance it and not pay.”