COMPLAINTS about controversial clamping company LBS Enforcement will be examined by Essex Police after all.

Police had previously said they could not get involved in clamping disputes because they are civil matters on private land.

But a spokeswoman for the force has now indicated the situation regarding notorious clamping company LBS was being looked into.

The announcement came after the Echo saw an e-mail from Ashley Holland, the neighbourhood sergeant for Milton Ward in Southend, who was responding to a complaint made by Southend resident Dan Woodrow.

It said: “This matter is now being investigated by Essex Police and a detective will be looking into the criminal offences and speaking to witnesses.

“I have passed on your concerns to my counterpart in trading standards at Southend Council, as some of the issues raised would fall in their remit.”

LBS, which is based in Southend and Wickford, has been exposed in a series of Echo articles and was featured last week on BBC show Watchdog. On the TV programme, the clampers were filmed blocking in a woman motorist with a van and demanding £435 to let her go.

Mr Woodrow, 48, was so incensed after watching the show, he contacted police to make an official complaint of blackmail.

Mr Woodrow used the footage as the basis of his complaint and also other allegations about LBS including their previous use of a false VAT number which actually belonged to Barclays Bank.

The police spokeswoman said a full investigation is yet to be launched.

However, she added: “Police in Southend are aware of the concerns surrounding car clampers in the area.

“We are currently reviewing the situation to see if any offences have been committed.”

James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, said he would support police action. He said: “Having seen the footage last week on Watchdog which showed an employee of LBS Enforcement clamping a female driver’s car, I was shocked.

“If this was a sample of the conduct of the enforcement team, and the police believe that there is a case for taking legal action against them, then I support the police.”