CHARITY donors have been stung today (Monday) as they were clamped as they dropped off items St Ives.

At least five people have been clamped so far today by Securak on behalf of Budgens, who are trying to tackle illegal parking within a private car park at the back of the store, in Market Hill.

But, instead of penalising those who parked in allocated spaces, the security firm's staff were clamping people parking at the rear of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to donate items to the charity.

Vanessa Roberts, manager of the BHP shop, which has four allocated spaces in the same car park. claimed she was called names by the clampers. She said: "Four of our customers have been clamped today, one with this engine running and boot open, and another with a passenger door open.

"It's obvious that they're not parking, but they're still getting clamped - one barely made it to our back door before he was clamped.

"We just really concerned that people will be put off donating if they are worried about getting clamped. Over the years village collections have dwindled because of bogus collectors and the most of the profit we get comes from people dropping stuff off. It will be a real detriment to the charity.

"One lady who was dropping something off was clamped and said that she has lost her pension money for the week."

People found parking in the car park will be issued £75 parking fines that could rise to £150 and £125 for the clamp to be released. If the clampers don't think the drivers will pay, they call a tow truck in and charge £250.

Steve Clark, 65, from Needingworth, was on his way to picking his 90-year-old father from the doctors when he had to stop to take a phonecall, and pulled into the Budgens car park.

He told The Hunts Post: "Within seconds, a man had put a ticket on my car. When I got out to see what the ticket was about and went to speak to him, another man had sneaked up behind and clamped my car.

"They really were quite obnoxious, they wanted to get a reaction so they can say to the police that they were attacked.

"I only retired last week and it would have been cheaper for me to have stayed at work. When I have to pick up a 90-year-old man who fought for this country, you have two louts who are animals it shows that society is dying."

A Securak spokesman said: "Unauthorised people who park their cars in allocated spaces, or the loading bays will be clamped. They are the ones in the wrong, they think it is illegal for people to clamp but it's not."

Steve Male, manager of Male's Budgens of St Ives, ordered the firm in as more he received complaints from staff and tennants that they couldn't park as it was full. The store's owner, who is off for a week with a possible slipped dosc, said: "There have always been problems here with people parking. I started to clamp cars myself when my staff couldn't find a space in the car park because people had parked in their spaces. They would have to park in the public car park and then they would present me with their ticket to reimburse them.

"In the last couple of years I was told by the police that I needed to hire a licenced company to carry it out for me and I had noticed that over the last few weeks that some staff had not been able to park because people had headed into the town centre."

"There are loads of signs up, the penalties might be slightly wrong, but it makes it clear that people cannot park there.

"It's a bit black and white for clampers, either you can park or you can't, but I am willing to talk to the manager of BHF to speak to her about telling the company to stop clamping people who are dropping donations off."