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Eleven boy racers charged under Black Country ban

Sandwell | News | Published:

Eleven boy racers have been charged since a Black Country-wide injunction was introduced to end the menace of car cruising just over a year ago.

Police say the number of car cruising incidents has fallen sharply since the ground-breaking ban across four boroughs was brought in, and predict that the trend will continue.

Seven culprits were caught earlier this month alone, while the first to fall foul of the ban was sentenced in August.

The restriction - covering roads across Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall - was brought into force in February last year, preventing people from promoting, organising or publicising a car cruise, as well as taking part in one. It was brought in after a rise in groups congregating at hotspots in the Black Country to race each other.

The 11 racers have been convicted of contempt of court, and further prosecutions are pending, say police. They warn offenders could face up to two years in prison or a large fine.

The injunction, introduced in February 2015, defines car cruising as the act of drivers meeting on the public highway on an organised or impromptu basis to race or show off in their cars.

The four Black Country councils and West Midlands Police secured the injunction after receiving hundreds of complaints about car cruising from residents and businesses over a number of years.

They ranged from grievances about dangerous driving, speeding and vehicles and spectators obstructing highways or residential or business properties, to excessive noise, littering, verbal abuse and intimidation.

Chief Inspector Jed White from West Midlands Police's motorway policing unit said car cruising had blighted the lives of residents and had had a detrimental impact on businesses in the region.

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"The injunction enables us to continue to tackle those individuals who flout the laws of the road and pose a danger for innocent members of the public," he said.

The ban had had an instant impact, he said. Both police and councils have reported a 'significant' reduction in car cruising, and say they expect the problem to be eliminated altogether in many areas.

It prohibits a number of activities typically associated with car cruising, including speeding, racing or driving in convoy, performing stunts, obstructing the highway, excessive noise, and causing the risk of harm to people or property.

Karen Samuels, Wolverhampton Council's head of community safety, said: "Street racing is completely unacceptable and we will not tolerate it.

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"People who think about taking part should be very clear about the likely consequences."

Christian Cooper-Edwards, of Clockmill Road, Walsall, became the first to be caught under the ban. The 18-year-old admitted racing along the A41 Black Country Route and breaching the 40mph speed limit at a court hearing in Birmingham.

He was handed a three-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, for contempt of court and ordered to pay £500 costs. The action was brought by Sandwell Council.

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