Fresh weapon in battle against racers

CAR racers have today been left out on the streets after owners of a private car park closed the doors on their rebellious antics.Managers of businesses in Russell Road, Ipswich, have finally got fed up with the constant damage caused by racers who gather in their joint car park in the evenings.

CAR racers have today been left out on the streets after owners of a private car park closed the doors on their rebellious antics.

Managers of businesses in Russell Road, Ipswich, have finally got fed up with the constant damage caused by racers who gather in their joint car park in the evenings.

The Staples and Fitness First car park shut for the first time last night (Wednesday June 30) and will continue to do so every night from now on.

Nick Etheridge, general manager of Fitness First, said: "There are loads of them who turn out every night to hang out in our car park and while many behave themselves it is the minority that spoil it for everyone else.

"We have had damage done to our air conditioning unit and fencing and in the morning the car park is often littered with alcohol bottles or evidence of drug taking.

"I feel instead of dealing with the problem we are simply pushing it onto someone else's doorstep. The police need to sort it out and I worry that it will not be sorted until someone is knocked over."

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Christian Dyke, sales manager of Staples, said: "Both Staples and Fitness First decided there was no other option but to close the car park. We would have liked to keep it open but the situation has gone beyond a joke.

"There have been so many problems and I have even had my car damaged. The car park seems to contain people from all ages although it does seem to be the younger ones who carry out the criminal activity."

The car park will close between 10.15pm-7am on Monday to Saturdays and 8.15pm-7am on Sundays.

Self confessed racer Sarah Dorling says it is the younger people meeting at the car park who cause all the trouble.

Miss Dorling, 23, of Penzance Road, Ipswich, said: "There are about 30 or 40 of us in my group who just enjoy going down and gathering at the car park.

"We spend all our money on our cars and like to meet to chat about them – it is just like others meeting at the pub.

"The problem started when teenagers started to hang out here too with stolen or clapped out cars. They smash the cars and shops up and run away from police whenever they have the chance.

"Boy and girl racers have a bad reputation for causing mayhem. We are all put in the same category and because of that the ones who gave us a bad name are ruining it for the rest of us. Me and my friends now have no option but to meet up at the docks area now."

Inspector Mark Lewis of Ipswich police said: "We have been in consultation with local businesses for a number of years advising that private car parks should be locked in the evenings to combat the problem of vehicles congregating and being driven anti-socially.

"Some aspects of the road traffic act do not apply to private car parks and we welcome the move that these car parks will be locked in the evenings."

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