A CONTROVERSIAL wheel clamping firm has ceased trading because of tough new laws regulating the industry which the Free Press was instrumental in introducing.
Vehicle Management Direct has confirmed it is no longer trading after clamping unlawfully parked cars in the town centre for 15 years.
The company, formerly known as Parkrite was due to attend court on Monday to appeal a claim from a disgruntled motorist but failed to attend.
Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton hailed the Free Press for its role in lobbying Parliament to introduce tougher laws regulating the industry.
Following our Curb the Clampers campaign clampers operating on private land are set to have to be licensed. Anyone operating illegally is set to be jailed for up to five years.
Miss Winterton used the stories of angry Free Press readers who had been clamped as evidence in Parliament to secure the new legislation set to come into force this year.
She said: “There is no doubt Doncaster is a better place without companies like Vehicle Management Direct.
“I have campaigned for many years to ensure wheel clamping companies are properly regulated – and the contribution made by the Free Press to that cause has been hugely helpful.”
For years the firm has operated around Frances Street, Cleveland Street and East Laith Gate.
Motorist Colin Parrish, a former chief inspector with Doncaster police, whose car was towed away from a car park in Frances street last January said he was “delighted” to learn the company had decided to call it quits.
He went to Doncaster County Court in March to argue the clampers’ warning signs were too small and could not be seen in the dark. The 66-year-old of Bessacarr won the case when vehicle Management Direct did not contest it.
On Monday it failed to appeal the small claims court’s decision.
Proprietor Kevin Cheadle said: “We have stopped trading. One reason is business is not very good at all and the other is that in October they will be banning clamping.
“We’ve been doing it ten years, but we’re only a small company. Doncaster is really quiet now, it’s just how the town centre is.”
The clamping signs were still up at the sites but the company said it was no longer clamping.
Mr Parrish, added: “The demise of VMD will be welcomed by the many decent, law-abiding people who have fallen victim to this outfit.
“These clampers blighted our town for too long and Doncaster is well rid of them however, the land owners who employ their services should accept their share of responsibility.”