‘Car cruisers risk prosecution,’ warns West Mids Police
A suspected street racer was arrested and dozens more face being taken to court after West Midlands Police swooped on an illegal car rally in Birmingham.
Officers moved in to contain a convoy of motorists suspected of racing or driving anti-socially in Nechells Parkway last Sunday night (13 Jan) in an operation sparked by two successive weekends of ‘car cruising’.
On Sunday (6 Jan) police were directed to the area following calls from worried members of the public reporting several hundred dangerous drivers and spectators causing chaos on the carriageways.
Officers were pelted with coins, fireworks and other objects as they battled to break-up the illegal gathering.
But last Sunday a robust police response saw traffic cops, supported by public order trained officers and the force’s drones unit, descend on the group in greater numbers and box off a stretch of the A47 and Nechells place.
A 28-year-old man from Smethwick was arrested on suspicion of breaching the city-wide Car Cruising Injunction – allegedly speeding at 70mph in a 40-zone – and was kept overnight in a police custody cell before being taken to court the following morning. He is set to return to court later this month.
Details were taken of more than 100 other people suspected of involvement; officers will examine their role in the gathering and they face being hauled before the courts.
And five vehicles were also seized during the operation, including one car understood to have been stolen from a hotel car-park in Coventry on 8 January this year.
Birmingham Police Superintendent Ian Green, said:
“Many of those detained are understood to be spectators…people who were lining the streets hoping to watch street racing.
“The Injunction is also clear that anyone watching street racing, encouraging it or promoting it – maybe through social media – is also guilty of breaching the order and can be prosecuted for contempt of court.
“Motorists, businesses and residents in areas affected by ‘car cruising’ have told us they are fed up with this type of dangerous, anti-social activity.
“This type of behaviour on our streets isn’t fun, it isn’t a game…it can have fatal consequences. And any motorist prepared to put people’s lives at risk by racing on our roads need to accept they may well end up in jail.
“We’ve taken a really firm stance on street racers in recent years: hundreds have been taken to court and handed heavy fines and driving bans.
“Recently we’ve seen an upturn in complaints from residents and other motorists reporting anti-social driving.
“This operation should highlight that it’s still an issue we take very seriously and anyone caught ignoring the injunction needs to understand we will take them to court – and the punishment can be very severe with offenders facing prison terms.”
The High Court injunction covers all of Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country and bans people from taking part in car cruising – including speeding, racing, driving in convoy, performing stunts and obstructing the highway – plus marketing or encouraging such activity.
Neighbourhood Police Sergeant Martin Williams apologised to any innocent motorists caught up in the containment. He added:
“The tactics deployed meant that a small number of innocent drivers were caught up among those we suspect of being illegal cruisers.
“We filtered out these drivers as soon as we could and allowed them on their way. I apologise for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience”
West Midlands Police detectives are also investigating the violent disorder that broke out on January 6 and will take firm action against anyone found to be involved.