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Dealer receives public apology after clamping fiasco

A franchised dealer has received an apology from Ulster's environment minister after three cars outside its showroom were mistakenly clamped by a government agency.

The two cars and a van were parked at Mazda and Ford dealership Lindsay Cars in Newtownabbey on March 27 when they were clamped as untaxed by contractors for Northern Ireland's Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

The dealership then received a DVA demand for £780 for their release.

Branch manager Donal Gallagher was told that because the vehicles were parked in a “public access” they should’ve been taxed, and Mr Gallagher was forced to pay £100 to have each of the clamps removed and a £160 surety for each of the untaxed vehicles.

Following public criticism of the DVA’s tactics on BBC Radio Ulster, Environment Minister Alex Attwood apologised to the dealership, instructing DVA to recompense Lindsay Motors.

"I have instructed the chief executive of DVA to advise his staff, who authorise clamping, that they have to ascertain, from commercial showrooms, if vehicles parked outside, on forecourts, or being transferred from a transporter, are part of the business and up for sale,” Attwood said.

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