Notorious clamper Peter Del Grosso back in Hull as boss of new parking enforcement firm
A NOTORIOUS car clamper who racially abused a man is the boss of a new parking enforcement firm in East Yorkshire.
Despite having a criminal conviction, the Mail can reveal Peter Del Grosso could have access to the DVLA database, meaning he can find out the names and addresses of drivers he fines. Del Grosso, who is no longer clamping, became director of a new company, Auto Security Limited, three months ago – around the same time wheel-clamping was outlawed in England.
Auto Security Ltd is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA), which would allow Del Grosso access to records kept by the DVLA.
One motorist who was recently given a £60 fine by Auto Security Ltd said: "How can a company involving someone with a criminal conviction and with his notoriety be a member of the BPA, which has access to drivers' personal details?
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"Would you feel comfortable about someone like Peter Del Grosso knowing your name and address?"
After the Mail informed the BPA about Del Grosso's criminal past, managers ordered an investigation.
The BPA admitted police background checks are not carried out on prospective members of its organisation.
Enquiries with Companies House revealed Del Grosso, who narrowly avoided prison in November 2011, was appointed director of Auto Security on October 29, 2012.
Under current law, landowners are entitled to hire enforcement companies to ticket drivers who park illegally on private property.
It is thought many former wheel- clampers are now turning to ticketing drivers – and using their BPA membership to enforce fines.
The motorist, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, admitted parking illegally after failing to take heed of a sign in Harvester Court, Beverley, owned by Sanctuary Housing Association.
He said a ticket, stating "BPA Approved" next to an "0845" phone number for drivers to call to pay the fine, had been placed on the windscreen of his car.
Hull North MP Diana Johnson said Del Grosso's return to parking enforcement exposed a major flaw in new laws designed to protect motorists.
She said: "Many people in Hull would be shocked to see Mr Del Grosso still operating after the Government's ban on wheel-clamping on private land was meant to have seen off rogue operators such as him.
"As I've warned before, by just having the headline- grabbing ban on wheel-clamping on private land, without curbing the wider dodgy practices in parking management, rogue clampers will just become rogue ticketers.
"The Government have also left us with a glaring legal loophole that the worst operators, including those with criminal records, can set up in the parking enforcement industry under a different company name almost overnight. They can then gain access to motorists' private information at the DVLA. I will keep raising this serious issue in Parliament."
In November 2011, Sheffield Crown Court heard how Del Grosso had abused Mohammed Tarhan, who is originally from Turkey, when he and his partner accompanied her sister to a back-street compound in Hull city centre.
Del Grosso, who was then working for Vehicle Management Limited, launched a tirade of racist abuse at Mr Tarhan before demanding to see his passport.
Mr Tarhan told the court: "He told me he knew where we lived and he would come and give my family and kids a Christmas present.
"He said, 'I'm going to **** your wife'."
Judge Robert Moore told Del Grosso he deserved prison for the offence of racially aggravated harassment.
But he said he believed 250 hours of unpaid work in the community would be more humiliating for him. Del Grosso was also given a 40-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Judge Moore told him: "Your behaviour was appalling and arrogant."
Del Grosso was also ordered to pay his victim £700 compensation, as well as £700 in court costs.
Private companies pay Swansea-based DVLA in return for drivers' details, enabling them to pursue those who fail to pay their fines.
DVLA spokesman David Whitbread said: "Companies who request information from us must be a member of an accredited trade association (ATA). Currently, the only ATA is the British Parking Association (BPA).
"Companies can make paper- based or electronic requests for vehicle keeper information.
"We check that the companies have a valid reason for wanting the information.
"However, we would consider reasonable a request for the details of a vehicle keeper who has parked in a private car park and contravened properly-signed regulations."
In a statement, the BPA said: "Vehicle Management Limited, the wheel clamping firm Mr Del Grosso ran, is not and has never been, a member of the BPA.
"Auto Security is a new member of BPA, having joined on December 20, last year.
"To become a member of the BPA, applicants are checked in line with our organisation's terms of membership.
"Additionally, those wishing to become approved operators must adhere to a strict code of practice before their membership is confirmed.
"We always investigate complaints submitted to us by members of the public against contraventions of our code of practice and take appropriate disciplinary action where required.
"As an organisation we do not condone abuse of any kind, whether racially motivated or otherwise.
"This matter is being discussed with the individuals involved and we are unable to comment further on this matter at this time."
The Mail made several attempts over the past week to contact Del Grosso, but our calls were not returned. We also travelled to Auto Security Ltd's registered office in Bradford, where we hand-delivered a letter.
No reply has been received.