It all started on a very sunny November Sunday morning.
The house was full of people, friends of our children milling around the kettle continually boiling the toaster continually popping music blaring out and my Sunday morning reading the papers in tranquil surroundings totally destroyed.
I said to my wife, Carol, that we should just go out and get away from it all for a few hours.
We had a static caravan on Anglesey at the time and in two hours we could be lazing in the van reading our papers and enjoying the sea views.
Without more a do we were off.
I had two cars at the time my official business car, diesel driven and my personal car petrol driven.
I took the car first off the drive and we were on our way.
There is a petrol station about one mile from my home were I stopped to fill up with petrol.
To my horror after I had put about two gallons of petrol in the car I realised I was in the diesel driven car.
I stopped the fuel delivery and pushed the car without trying to start it to a parking area.
I informed the petrol station staff what I had done and said I would arrange for it to be collected tomorrow, Monday, which they were happy with.
I walked back home and collected my petrol driven Rover filled it with petrol and proceeded to our day out to Anglesey.
The following day after arriving at work I notified the motor mechanics of my stupidity and asked them to recover the car from the petrol station near my home and do the necessary to put the car back into service.
They asked me how much petrol I had put in the car and I said about two gallons before I realised my mistake.
Two mechanics went out and the first thing they did was to top up the fuel tank with a further six gallons of diesel and proceeded to drive my vehicle back to the workshop.
It was about lunch time now and as they passed a shopping precinct they decided to go and buy their sandwiches from the Sayers cake and sandwich shop.
The mechanic, Greg, who drove my car, parked in the shopping precinct and walked over the road to the bank and drew money from the hole in the wall.
He then went into Sayers and bought his lunch.
When he got back to my car it had been clamped.
There was a greasy long haired scruffy looking man in attendance, no uniform or official badge but it was obvious by his actions he was the man who had clamped the vehicle.
Greg the mechanic went over to the man and asked him to remove the clamp and of course the man refused.
He explained that Greg had parked the car in the precinct and then walked off the car park and this was not allowed as this car park was for the shops that surrounded it.
Greg showed him the bag of Sayers sandwiches and the receipt from the hole in the wall from where he had drawn money to purchase his lunch.
All this had no affect on the greasy haired clamper and insisted Greg pay £50 to have the clamp removed.
Greg refused and went back to the workshop with the other mechanic and reported the situation to me.
I have to say I was alarmed and that at no time previously had I ever seen a clamping firm operating in this precinct.
I told Greg not to worry as I would pick it up on the way home later as I could not believe this was a legal operation.
However, I was starting to worry and I decided to go to the precinct myself and assess the situation.
I took another car from the pool and made my way.
I passed the car park and saw my car was still there clamped.
I decided to go home for lunch and check it again on the way back.
On my return back to the office I saw a tow truck reversing into the car park about to tow my car away.
I drove into the car park and stopped between the tow truck and my car.
I jumped out and remonstrated with the greasy haired man called him a crook among other things and said what he was doing was illegal and I asked someone to call the police.
There was a lot of shouting going on and the tow truck went out of the car park and came in another gate and attempted to affix the towing ropes again.
I jumped in my second car again and drove with menace between the tow truck and my clamped car again.
By this time there were crowds gathering coming out of the shops and the pub.
They probably thought it was a Jeremy Beadle stunt.
One drunk came up to me with a pint in his hand and started calling me names.
He called me a bastard and that I should be put away and said you are nothing but a slime ball.
I asked him why he was calling me such names and he said because you have clamped that mans car, I said he has clamped my car he looked at me and went over to the greasy haired man and said, you bastard you should be put away you slime ball.
Meanwhile, one of the crowd said the tow truck man was about to clamp my second car.
I jumped into my second car and drove it a few feet while he was trying to clamp it.
The clamp thankfully was not affixed and it shot off the wheel and across the car park missing everything and everybody.
I had also managed to telephone the workshop and asked them to send someone out with bolt cutters and the key to the clamped car.
Just when I had given up all hope two police women arrived in a police car.
I explained what had happened and said that what the greasy haired man was doing was not legal.
They questioned the greasy haired man asked him who he was and who he worked for.
He said I don’t have to give you that information but you can speak to my boss on my car radio.
One of the police women went over to the car and spoke to someone on the end of the radio she came back and said the greasy haired man was acting on behalf of the company she had been speaking to on the radio.
Who have you been speaking to I asked, she said this man’s employer how can you know that? it could be anyone, he might be a car thief for all you know.
You have been watching too much television she said.
I had been here about an hour now the car park was grid locked the access road was jammed and people were beginning to become irate.
Shoppers could not get in or out of the car park but it was another lovely sunny day and it was a little bit of excitement for the shoppers and particularly the drunks.
My shoulders sagged as eventually my car was towed away and the police women waved goodbye to me as they too drove away.
I went up to the greasy haired man looked him straight in the eye and said before today is out you will regret that you ever crossed me.
I jumped in my car and made my way back to the office.
I telephoned a friend of mine who is a police officer and asked him about the legality of these clampers and told him my story.
He said he was on nights but would ask his sergeant about it later when he came on duty.
I cannot remember now but somehow I had a telephone number to contact the tow truck people or the clamping firm and I telephoned them on my return to the office.
What do I do now I asked them?
They said I would have to take £150 cash to a lockup in Warrington and the car would be returned to me.
My engineer lived in Warrington and so I asked him to draw the cash from our Finance Department and go and collect the car.
I said go home now collect the car and bring it into work tomorrow, Tuesday.
I was feeling very low at this point as there is nothing worse for me than to be ripped off by some greasy haired scumbag.
About 5.30pm my office phone went and it was my engineer who said he had been to the lock up but the car was not there but on the way home he had spotted it parked up in a back street and blocked in by a tow truck.
Is there any way we could get it out I asked he said you might be able to but it was doubtful.
I thought if a Warrington lad might be able to get it out a scouser would definitely be able to get it out.
Meet me at MacDonald’s Warrington at 7.30pm and you can take us to the car.
I got hold of Greg the mechanic, a pal Bob and myself.
We are all in the TA and so we got dressed in combat gear, boots and all and made our way to our 7.30pm rendezvous.
My engineer was there waiting.
He was shocked to see how we were dressed and I was shocked to see him in a white Arran jumper light trousers and cream coloured shoes.
He won’t be hanging around I thought.
Follow me in your car he said and we did for about a mile.
He stopped in a side street and said park up and I will take you in my car, better if there is only one car he said.
We drove another half mile and he drove past the clamped car but thankfully the clamps had been removed.
He stopped the car a couple of streets away we got out and he drove off.
As I said earlier it was November it is about 8pm there is a heavy frost on all the cars the windows of the cars were white with the frost.
We made our way back to the car and one at a time we did a recce to work out how we could get the car out safely.
After about 10 minutes we were ready, Greg wanted to drive the car and Bob and I would be ready for any aggro.
Greg went to the car got in and started the engine a diesel engine is noisy at the best of times but on a cold winters night when we are trying our hardest to be silent the starting of that diesel engine almost stopped my heart. Within 30 seconds with a little bit of manoeuvering a bump onto the pavement and driving down the pavement between the tow truck and a wall Greg was gone.
It all seemed so quiet now, no doors opening, no lights coming on nobody shouting it was almost an anticlimax.
We stood there for a minute or two just to see if anything was going to happen but nothing did.
It took us about ten minutes to find our car and we drove home.
When we arrived home Greg was already there and so were my policeman friend and his sergeant.
I hope you haven’t broken in anywhere to get the car he said very seriously .
I assured him it was parked on the public highway and Greg just drove it away.
Well I have something to tell you.
When I came on duty tonight I was out with my sergeant and told him your story and how Greg had gone for money to buy his lunch and was clamped when he came back to the car.
While we were talking a call came over the radio to say that a woman parked on the precinct and went for chips and fish to the shop opposite the car park.
On her return with what was obviously the family supper she found she had been clamped by your greasy haired friend.
The woman was beside herself with grief and was screaming and crying that she didn’t have £50 to release the car and her children were waiting for her to return with their supper.
The greasy haired man was unmoved and proceeded to clamp two other vehicles while this poor woman was becoming hysterical.
My sergeant asked the greasy haired man for his details and he said the same to him as he had said to the police women, I don’t have to tell you anything.
The sergeant said you better had mate or you will be nicked.
Meanwhile he asked me to go and check his car.
I checked his tax disc the details did not match the car.
I asked him where he got the disc and he said off a scrapped car.
When I checked the number plate and car chassis number they too did not match and it turns out the car was a ringer.
I asked him to remove the three sets of clamps from the three cars in the car park all belonging to women and asked them if they would witness the tax disc details and number plate on the greasy haired mans car which of course they did.
He is now locked up in the police station and you will not be surprised to know that he was on bail for car theft.
WHAT A RESULT, but it doesn’t say much for policewomen does it!!!!!