‘Brands Hatch boy racer’ meet-ups tormenting people living in north Portsmouth as police issue warning to racers
THEY are the scourge of the evening streets with ‘Brands Hatch boy racer’ meet-ups tormenting people living in the north of the city.
Revving, back-firing and screeching from vehicles are familiar irritating sounds late into the night as weary locals are kept awake by the ‘loud’ unrelenting noises - said to be the worst in 18 years.
Airport Service Road - near the new Eastern Police Investigation Centre - has been named as a particular hotspot.
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Souped-up cars gather in the area before carrying out races or ‘drifting’ - where cars execute a controlled sideways skid - in the industrial areas.
But police have issued a blunt warning to drivers causing menace on the streets that vehicles being seized is among a range of options for officers as they seek to clamp down on the ‘unacceptable risk to public safety’.
The worst occasions in memory for many people came on the Saturday nights of July 9 and July 16 late into the evenings and into the early hours of Sunday. Police were called to the Farlington Sainsbury’s car park on July 10.
Sally Hackney, 42, of Copnor, said: ‘I’ve lived here for 18 years and for the last 12 months we've had really loud boy racer cars/motorbikes revving, back-firing and screeching into the early hours.
‘Earlier in the month it was probably one of the worst it's ever been and was still going at 1am.
‘The noise is so loud it’s like Brands Hatch. The sound really travels and has kept me and my children awake. It is worse in the summer because people have their windows open. It must be affecting a lot of people. It is very annoying.’
Many other locals have posted on neighbourhood site nextdoor.co.uk to express frustrations.
One said: ‘The noise of the engines, tyres screeching and smell of burning rubber is tremendous.’
Another added: ‘They were driving me absolutely crazy. I’m surprised they can afford to waste the petrol money.’
Copnor councillor Benedict Swann said: ‘Boy racers are taking advantage of the industrial estates being quiet and racing there. Airport Service Road is a favourite spot.
‘I’ve been in touch with police who are upping patrols to catch people in the act and throw the book at them.’
Chief inspector Paul Markham said: ‘These events are unauthorised and unlicensed, and on occasions, a minority of attendees can display anti-social behaviour, including noise nuisance and driving at excessive and dangerous speeds. This can cause disruption and disturbance to residents and presents an unacceptable risk to public safety.
‘We will not allow such behaviour to go unchallenged and we ask all drivers to act responsibly and drive safely.
‘We will take action, making use of available legislation which can include seizing vehicles, penalty notices, notifying insurance companies, dispersal notices or arrest and prosecution if necessary.’
Police will review incidents and reports of anti-social or dangerous driving linked to car meetings, including mobile phone footage, footage from dash-cams and CCTV, and body worn video footage from officers, to identify offences.
The chief inspector added: ‘We would also remind organisers of events that they must seek permission of the landowner and the district or city council beforehand.’
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People were told to call 101 or go to Hampshire police’s website to report incidents including car number plates if possible.