AN ILLEGAL race on roads near Rugby was foiled by police on Saturday evening (April 10).
Officers from Northamptonshire Police took a zero-tolerance approach towards car enthusiasts who travelled to the A5 near the DIRFT rail terminal in Crick, close to junction 18 of the M1, to attend an organised illegal race event.
Following intelligence work, officers from the Safer Roads Team – supported by colleagues from the West Local Policing Area and Special Constabulary – shut down the event.
A total of 162 drivers were stopped and issued with Section 59 anti-social driving notices, after officers witnessed vehicles racing around roundabouts.
One driver had his vehicle seized just four days after receiving a Section 59 notice after attending another car meet in the county, while a second vehicle being driven by a provisional licence holder was also seized.
During the roadside tests, seven drivers were issued with fixed penalty notices for defective tyres – most were due to cord showing from drifting. Two had more than one illegal tyre which meant the drivers had to arrange for their vehicles to be recovered.
Another 12 drivers were issued with a fixed penalty notice for number plate offences, which included not having them displayed on their vehicles.
And a 26-year-old man from Birmingham was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs and released under investigation pending blood results. He was also reported for dangerous driving and failing to stop.
PC David Lee of the Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Team said: “Many of these people had travelled from outside the county to attend this event either to participate in racing or as a spectator.
“Our message to those travelling to our county with the hope of seeing or taking part in illegal racing or drifting couldn’t be more clear – it will be a wasted trip as we will shut down any attempt at holding such activities.
“These unauthorised events on public roads aren’t just illegal, they can be unsafe and put participants and spectators, as well as other road users, at significant risk of collisions and serious injury.
“Working with our Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance partners, reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our county roads remains our priority.
“We will continue to work with all our partners and policing colleagues from other forces to tackle such unauthorised events as well as dangerous driving and anti-social driving as we know the risks they pose and the harm they can cause.”
To shut down this weekend’s illegal meet, officers reactivated Operation Larder, originally launched in January 2015 to address previous meets at the DIRFT site. Two such races were stopped at the site in 2017.