Thurrock Council and Essex Police to ban car cruising at Lakeside

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Thurrock Council and Essex Police are to introduce an order banning car cruising, dangerous driving and any associated anti-social behaviour in and around the Lakeside area.

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) will be in force for three years from 18 December and prohibits taking part in car cruising as a driver, passenger or spectator.

The area covered by the order is from the A13 between the M25 and the railway bridge, south to the River Thames. Anybody who breaches the order is liable to a fine of up to £1,000.

An incident earlier this year at a cruise event in Tilbury highlighted the danger these events can pose to participants and spectators.

More than 500 modified vehicles and 300-400 spectators were present when a modified Volkswagon Golf entered a roundabout far in excess of the speed limit, and crashed into a lamppost before coming to rest in the middle of the road.

Matt Clarke, SERP’s communications officer, who accompanied Essex Police on the night, said: “By an amazing stroke of good fortune, the deflection off the lamppost diverted the VW away from the spectators, thereby avoiding a catastrophic incident which would almost certainly have resulted in death and/or serious injury.”

Speaking about the PSPO, Councillor Jane Pothecary, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for public protection, said: “Car cruising and all the problems the go with it have been an issue for many years.

“The council and police have tried to stop it with orders in the past, but I think this three-year PSPO will send the right message.

“Council officers and the police have put a great deal of work into getting this order correct and I would warn all those who regularly misuse our roads and make the lives of local people a misery that Essex Police will be enforcing the PSPO.”

Chief Inspector Leigh Norris, Thurrock district commander, added: “Anti-social – and sometimes dangerous – driving and associated noise nuisance has been an issue in this area of west Thurrock for many years.

“So far this year two motorcyclists and a pedestrian have suffered serious leg injuries.

“There is a real risk to public safety and my teams and I, as well as my predecessors, have been working on a number of operations and projects with partner agencies, retailers and landowners to address these issues.

“Our concern is there will be a fatality unless we take tougher action to stop illegal street racing and this order will provide a real opportunity to improve road safety in Thurrock.”

The PSPO states the council is satisfied “activities have been carried out in this Restricted Area which have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality” and that their “persistent” and “continuing” nature “justifies the restrictions imposed”.

Among the activities specified are: speeding; driving in convoy; racing, performing stunts and revving engines; using foul or abusive language; using threatening, intimidating behaviour; the danger of injury to road users including pedestrian; and damage to property.

16 December 2015

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