Haworth’s car-clamping king Ted Evans claims lazy traders are driving away tourists.

He said disgruntled visitors were going home early because most shops were closed during the mornings.

The car park owner – once branded ‘Dick Turpin’ – says coach firms had stopped visiting because passengers complained there was nothing to do. And he believed the traders’ inactivity was deterring more visitors than his own controversial actions.

Mr Evans said that Haworth car parks, including his own in Changegate, were attracting dozens of vehicles on winter mornings.

But he said many people returned to their cars soon afterwards after finding Main Street effectively shut for business. He said: “It’s ridiculous. They’re either in business or they’re not. People are getting extremely disgruntled. One or two coach companies have stopped coming because shops aren’t open.

“Traders would sooner blame me for their loss of business than themselves. If Haworth wants to die on its feet then it won’t be because of me.”

Mr Evans has achieved national notoriety for using a clamping company at his car park, just off Main Street.

Traders and tourist chiefs have for many years claimed Mr Evans’ actions deter people from visiting Haworth.

Mr Evans said just 11 vehicles had been clamped on the Changegate car park since last November.

He said there were about 25 vehicles on the car park each morning and during the half-term holidays he had up to 150 vehicles per day.

But he said several people who bought all-day tickets returned to their vehicles soon afterwards because they could not find anything open. Sweet shop owner Linda Presley, chairman of Haworth Traders Association, said the car-clamping reputation deterred some people from visiting Haworth.

But she said the main issue currently keeping people away from the village was the recession. Linda said most Main Street shops were open on weekend mornings, but admitted many did not open during the week.

She said: “It’s like tumbleweed down Main Street during the week so I go out to fairs so I can keep trading.

“Other people do evening work in pubs. Until we can get confidence up by the traders then I can understand why they don’t open. “We had visitors during half term but takings were so far down on last year it was laughable. An awful lot of the visitors are lookers not buyers.”

The Traders Association and Bradford Council will soon launch a massive drive to promote Haworth among hundreds of coach companies and tourist operators.