Car lovers' seven hour protest

CAR enthusiasts out to prove their innocence have today pleaded for people not to tar them with the same brush as boy racers after a protest in Ipswich.

CAR enthusiasts out to prove their innocence have today pleaded for people not to tar them with the same brush as boy racers after a protest in Ipswich.

Around 150 car enthusiasts parked up at the car park behind Zest nightclub, West End Road, and held a peaceful protest to demonstrate they do not want to cause trouble or break the law.

The group parked in bays, paid and displayed and protested peacefully for more than seven hours.

Ray Connors, 21, was one of the protestors. He said: “We've had enough of being moved around from car park to car park, and of being treated the same as boy racers.

“We wanted to prove a point so parked up and behaved ourselves as we always do.

“We even walked round and picked up other people's litter as a gesture of goodwill.

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“There were a few boy racers who drove into the car park quickly so we had a go at them. It's these people who have damaged our reputation.

“I'm glad we've made our point but I can't see it ending here. I know it's difficult for the police to see who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, who use the road as a racetrack, but they have to realise we are different.”

The protest, on Sunday, involved around 35 cars. Both security staff and police told them to move on but when Ipswich Borough Council was contacted it was agreed they were not doing anything wrong.

The Evening Star reported last month how, following complaints from residents, Ipswich Borough Council pledged to clamp down on groups leaving litter and racing vehicles in the West End Road car park and the nearby car park at Staples, Russell Road.

But the car enthusiasts say they gather in the area to compare their modified cars and talk about improvements they plan to make to their vehicles and want help from the police and council to organise more legal cruise events and to find a place in Ipswich where they can gather unchallenged.

Ipswich Borough Council is this week to discuss a report from Rodney Cook from the StreetCare department and it is thought a permanent solution can be found.

Suffolk police say they are aware of the situation. Acting Inspector Caroline Brinkley said: “Our concern is with prosecuting the road users who do abuse the use of their vehicles and act in an anti-social way to the annoyance of the public. It's these people who are at risk of having their vehicles seized.

“We recognise there are people who regularly visit the area who are not breaking the law and we do not want to hassle them.”

WEBLINKS: www.cruisecentral.co.uk; www.ipswich.gov.uk

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