London: A team of bailiffs was taken prisoner by an irate businessman when they arrived to seize two of his vehicles after he allegedly failed to pay parking fines of Â£9,000 (Dh63,000).
The man was being targeted by Camden council, which has launched a crackdown against non-payers.
But when the council-appointed bailiffs arrived at Camden Boxframe Co Ltd in Camden Road to claim the vehicles in lieu of payment, one of the owners took matters into his own hands.
When told he must forfeit the vehicles or pay his fines plus the council's costs - totalling Â£20,000 (Dh140,000) - he locked the gates to his yard, trapping three bailiffs and one of their vehicles.
After a tense stand-off, the man unlocked the gates only when police were called and warned him he could face arrest for unlawful imprisonment and obstruction.
The bailiffs were then able to take one of the vehicles - the other was not on the premises. The man, who refused to give his name, told the Evening Standard: "I locked the gates because I didn't want my van taken away but police advised me I couldn't do that.
"I'm going to see my solicitor about this. It's a liberty. We've only had the van for eight weeks. All the fines come from before that. We don't owe anything."
According to its website, the joinery company is owned by J.J. Glendon and Calvin Stroud.
Tim Gunn, Camden's recovery manager, insisted the council had kept the firm's vehicles under observation and had documentary proof that while under the ownership of Camden Boxframes, the vans had incurred more than 50 warrants for unpaid fines.