Can I remove a wheel clamp from my car?
The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 significantly changed the way in which debts can be enforced by a bailiff/enforcement agent. For example, with regards to motor vehicles, the regulations provide that:
A bailiff may only take control of a vehicle owned by the debtor
A car belonging to a third-party cannot be taken.
A car displaying a valid Blue Badge cannot be taken
In addition, in many cases, a vehicle that is subject to finance/hire purchase/log book loans cannot be taken. Our webpage on this subject can be found here.
Location where a vehicle can be seized
The regulations specify that a vehicle may only be clamped on the debtors premises or on a highway. A vehicle must not be clamped on private property such as another persons driveway, supermarket car parks or motorway service areas etc.
It is very important to be aware that if your vehicle is located on a highway (by the enforcement agents ANPR equipped vehicle) that Regulation 18.2 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 specifically provides that the vehicle must be secured by way of an immobilisation device.
The notices that must be provided
If a bailiff has clamped a vehicle, Regulation 18.4 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 provides that he must provide a Warning of Immobilisation. Further details of the statutory notices required can be read here.
How long can the vehicle be clamped for?
Regulation 18.5 specifically provides that a vehicle should remain clamped for a minimum of two hours. Therefore a bailiff cannot charge a ‘removal’ (sale stage fee) of £110 unless this time period has elapsed.
Can I cut off the wheel clamp?
No you cannot. Under Section 68.1 of Schedule 12 (TCEA 2007) it is a serious offence to remove a wheel clamp or to obstruct the bailiff from clamping or removing the vehicle. A person found guilty on conviction may face being fined (level 4) or sent to prison for a term not exceeding 51 weeks…or both. Sadly we have received many reports of debtors being arrested and charged since the above offence was introduced.
While the internet can be a great source of information, please be very careful of internet sites which advise you to remove a wheel clamp on the basis that the ‘clamping’ had apparently been illegal and claiming that you may be entitled to compensation. It would be for a court (and certainly not for a website) to decide whether a bailiff has acted illegally.
What is likely to happen if I remove the wheel clamp?
If an enforcement agent discovers that the vehicle has been removed, then in every case, he will report the matter to the police. The police will then attempt to locate the vehicle by way of ANPR. If found, it will be taken to the police pound. Unfortunately, there are many reports of arrests being made for this offence.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online
If you have any queries in relation to a vehicle that has been clamped by a bailiff, you can email a question to us using our popular Enquiry Form. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Please refer to our Contact Page for further details.
A simple overview of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.