HUNDREDS of victims who were conned out of thousands of pounds by a Worcestershire clamping firm are to get their money paid back.
In February 2012 owner of Midland Parking Contracts Andrew Minshull of Hatfield Close, Redditch, was jailed for 32 months after admitting conspiracy to defraud and in May last year was ordered to pay a total of £121,262 to 480 people who were threatened into handing over money after their vehicles were clamped.
The 40-year-old has now handed over the cash and the victims will get their money back over the next few weeks, with each expected to receive about 82 per cent of their total loss.
Drivers in Worcester, Evesham, Bromsgrove, Redditch and elsewhere were charged up to £335 to have their vehicles released after being illegally clamped by the firm between January 2006 and September 2009.
West Mercia Police along with the trading standards team from Worcestershire Regulatory Services and the Security Industry Authority launched an investigation in 2009 and receiving hundreds of complaints about the company.
Minshull and five of his employees were arrested and all pleaded guilty to the charges and were jailed. Judge Robert Juckes QC – who himself was a victim of Minshull’s scam –concluded last year the crooked businessman had benefitted £311,084 from his crimes.
Financial investigator with West Mercia Police’s economic crime unit Mark Bancroft said he was pleased victims would soon be getting their money back.
“Our confiscation investigation spanned three years and successfully ended with the offender’s assets being stripped to compensate the victims of his criminal activity,” he said.
“Once criminal proceedings are finished, wherever possible, the force financial investigators will strive to retrieve the proceeds of crime to reimburse those who have been taken advantage of.
“Minshull’s firm netted hundreds of thousands of pounds by effectively demanding money after clamping or removing vehicles right across the Midlands.
“People who complained about the firm’s tactics were sometimes offered refunds, but in most cases did not get their money back, so we are delighted the confiscation order was granted and that the victims are now being substantially compensated for their loss.
“We also hope it sends a clear message to criminals that crime does not pay and we will do everything within our powers to prevent them benefiting.”
Anyone with any information about fraud can call police on 101.