Fines top $1 million as Sheriffs clamp down on vehicles in Chadstone
Wed, 09 Dec 2009 12:15 pm By
A three-day operation stated earlier this week where officers from the Sheriff's office checked thousands of cars in Chadstone Shopping Centre's carparks for vehicles whose owners have long outstanding fines from parking infringements. 138 cars were clamped, and 28 others were issued with final demand notices, which if not payed, would result in cancellation of licence and registration.
Shoppers who repeatedly refuse to pay or ignore fines are returning from shopping to find their car being wheel clamped. To have it removed, the fine must be paid. Refusal to pay after the clamping can result in licence suspension. Tampering with or attempting to remove a wheel clamp is punishable with a $6805 fine and/or six months imprisonment.
There is a possibility that vehicle checking could occur again during the peak of the Christmas rush. The sheer number of cars at the Centre means that officers can quickly and efficiently check car registrations against their database of outstanding fines. No other place exists where it can be done like this.
It couldn't have come at a worse time, where customers are shopping for Christmas presents only to have their festive season spoilt by a clamped wheel and with no choice but to pay the fine plus late fees. It is usually the poorer and less well off who have trouble finding the money to pay the fines. All they are trying to do is to bring some Christmas cheer to their family and friends - the Sheriff's office seems to have no Christmas compassion.
Chadstone Centre Management appear to turn a blind eye to these operations. But the last thing the Centre needs is to have cars clamped, taking up valuable parking spots, which in turn potentially reduce the number of customers flowing through the door.