News item

Car clamper prosecution award for TS and BIS

Brent and Harrow Trading Standards and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) both won an award from the Solicitor General, Edward Garnier QC MP at the Prosecutors Convention 2011 in recognition of their partnership working for jointly bringing a prosecution of a car clamper.

Other regulators also contending for the prestigious award included the Serious Fraud Office, the Health & Safety Executive and Environment Agency.

The nomination arose as a result of a case which was concluded in Brent Magistrates court in November 2010, when the car clamper was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment (suspended for 18 months), fined £500 and ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work. In addition to this, he was ordered to pay £1,051 in compensation to his victims and Brent and Harrow Trading Standards prosecution costs of £2,575.50.

Lee Ray Peacock, aged 44, Director of Regional Clamping Services Ltd, pleaded guilty to two offences under The Fraud Act 2006 for allowing his company to continue trading despite the fact it had been wound up by the Official Receiver. He also pleaded guilty to an offence of aggressive trading under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Brent and Harrow Trading Standards worked in partnership with BIS, who added two further offences after proceedings had been instituted against Mr Peacock. He was charged with continuing to act in the management of another company, Regional Clamping Services (UK) Ltd, when he was disqualified from holding such office and also for the fact that he was using a company name which was similar to the company which had previously been wound up (Regional Clamping Services Ltd).

The defendant also pleaded guilty to these two offences and was given a further 10 weeks consecutive prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay £858.50 to BIS as a contribution towards their prosecution costs.

Both BIS and Brent and Harrow Trading Standards faced stiff competition from other nominees for this prestigious award but the judges recognised the fact that both departments identified overlapping interests at an early stage, were innovative and had a flexible approach and made efficient use of resources in bringing this joint prosecution. In addition to this, the significant national and local media interest that resulted from this ground breaking prosecution enhanced public confidence in both departments.

Nagendar Bilon, Head of Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service said after the presentation: “I am extremely pleased that the good work of both BIS and Trading Standards has been acknowledged at the highest levels within government and is a testament to the fact that we have the adeptness to identify opportunities to share resources and best practice with fellow regulators.

"This type of joined up working is the way forward, particularly where there are linked offences such as in this case and it affords us the option of sharing the costs of bring the case to court. I am sure that we will look for more opportunities to bring criminals to task where other regulators also have an interest."