Boy racers set to be targetted
BOY racers visiting Felixstowe this summer for car cruises have been told to behave or they will pay the price.Although they are welcome they are warned that if they step out of line the police will issue fixed penalty tickets and set up car clinics - which will see every vehicle taken off the road for a detailed inspection by transport officials.
By Richard Cornwell
BOY racers visiting Felixstowe this summer for car cruises have been told to behave or they will pay the price.
Although they are welcome they are warned that if they step out of line the police will issue fixed penalty tickets and set up car clinics - which will see every vehicle taken off the road for a detailed inspection by transport officials.
Police at the resort expect regular visits from the car enthusiasts in spring and summer and are bracing themselves to tackle the problem, which causes residents anxiety and can lead to danger on the seafront streets.
Insp Andy Bushell has already met groups who have turned up on the seafront, and told them his policy.
"I don't mind them coming to Felixstowe as long as they behave and don't cause hassle, nuisance and annoyance to the residents," he said.
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"As soon as it appears they are driving without regard for the people who use and live in that area, my officers will step in and give fixed penalty tickets."
Groups of drivers tagged boy racers, often because of their customised cars, meet at various locations in Suffolk for what is termed "car cruising".
They text each other on their mobile phones on where to meet up to show off their cars to each other and socialise. Favourite spots include seasides, the car park at the Orwell Country Park, and supermarket car parks.
A recent gathering at Felixstowe was mainly young drivers from Stowmarket and Ipswich.
"These people are not yobs – they are employed, mostly older than teenagers, and they take a lot of pride in their cars. It's their way of life and they like to meet up and chat and I have no problem with that," said Insp Bushell.
"But a few of them, a minority, have no regard for the safety of people on our seafront and spoil it for the others – and we will have to take enforcement action to get our message across to those people."
As well as fixed penalty tickets for traffic offences, such as speeding and not wearing seat belts, the police will set up car inspection sites.
Transport experts will then examine the cars in an off-road area and issue notices for all defects to be put right by MoT garages, which will then have to issue tickets to certify the vehicle's roadworthiness.
"These will be very detailed inspections which will take some time as everything will be looked at from tyres to engines, from the print on the index plates to how much screen washer is in the water bottle, and at the same time plenty of advice will be given about safety and driving," said Insp Bushell.
Residents have complained about the noise from some of the cars and the manner of driving, with owners accelerating over short distances amid crowds of daytrippers at the resort's busiest times.
This has led to fears of a serious accident and the suggestion that a pedestrian-only zone should be set up outside the funfair, arcades and kiosks in Sea Road to make the area safer.