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Kids' old car craze that could kill

PUBLISHED: 15:44 01 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

A DEADLY road craze is sweeping Ipswich as teenagers too young to drive buy cut-price car wrecks and speed round the town - with even younger kids as their passengers.

A DEADLY road craze is sweeping Ipswich as teenagers too young to drive buy cut-price car wrecks and speed round the town - with even younger kids as their passengers.

Under-age youngsters are knocking on doors in the east of the town offering cash for unroadworthy vehicles which they drive unlicensed on the roads, said Inspector Andy Solomon of Ipswich police.

"If we don't put a stop to this current craze, someone's going to get seriously injured or killed.

"A prime example was when a youth under 17 was stopped driving in the early hours of the morning with a 12-year-old passenger," Insp Solomon said. Police checks showed the car had been bought from a Suffolk driveway.

Insp Solomon said some youngsters too young to hold a licence are conning motorists with stories of wanting to buy their unroadworthy vehicle to practice mechanics. Once they have bought the vehicle for around £20 to £30, the teenagers drive them, though they are unfit for the road.

"For some time we've had problems with motor vehicles in the south east part of town, youths stealing them and setting fire to them, especially in Gainsborough Lane.

"Recently, we've become aware of a new trend of juveniles, under-17 so they can't have a licence, actively seeking out unroadworthy vehicles in people's driveways and offering small sums of money to purchase them. Different stories are used, for example, 'I'm a trainee motor mechanic and my dad's going to help me work on it'," Insp Solomon said.

"Our concern is that we have motor vehicles purchased by teenagers under-age, the vast majority of which have mechanical defects as well as defective bodywork, more often than not which need to have a lot of money spent on them just to pass an MoT, which are being driven on the streets of Ipswich, often at speed.

"The big fear is that one of these cars isn't going to work properly and someone's going to get killed."

Insp Solomon urged anyone approached by a youngster with a cash offer for an unroadworthy vehicle to consider the consequences before selling.

"It may be their friend, brother or girlfriend that gets killed as a result of this," he said.

"Don't sell unless you're absolutely happy that the person is genuine and going to use it for a lawful purpose."

* If YOU know of any under-aged teenagers driving Ipswich's streets in unroadworthy cars, let the police know in confidence on 01473 613500 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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