Zero tolerance after crackdown on 'race meets' in Northamptonshire

Image: Northamptonshire Police
Image: Northamptonshire Police
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Police have warned they are operating a "zero tolerance" policy on illegal road race events in Northamptonshire after a recent clampdown resulted in 127 drivers being stopped.

Following intelligence work, Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team prevented an illegal race on the A5 near the DIRFT rail terminal in Crick, close to junction 18 of the M1, on the evening of Sunday, July 9.

Meets at the site have previously caused problems and, following an increase in activity over the past six months, officers are warning drivers and spectators that illegal race activity will not be tolerated.

PC David Lee, of the Safer Roads Team, said: “When we talk to people at these meets they say they’ve just come to watch, but if people come to watch there will be people who are happy to race. Without spectators there’s not so much of an event. While people feel they aren’t doing anything wrong by being there, it is encouraging that behaviour to happen.

“Many of the people we spoke to had travelled from across the UK to attend. We want to send out a strong message that travelling here with the hope of seeing or taking part in illegal racing or drifting will be a wasted trip as we will shut down any attempt at holding such activities on public roads.”

He added: “When these illegal races happen there are collisions that involve members of the public, and this sort of behaviour is simply not acceptable on public roads. If you want to race, go to a proper racetrack and do so in safe and controlled conditions.”

To deal with Sunday’s illegal meet at DIRFT, officers reactivated Operation Larder, originally launched in January 2015 to address the problem of such pop-up events.

A total of 127 drivers were stopped and spoken to at the scene about topics including number plate offences, defective tyres and MOT expiry. Processing all the vehicles took 20 officers and special constables more than four hours.

During the operation four vehicles were seized, two for having no insurance and two for not being taxed. Following roadside tests, 16 drivers chose to remove window tints rather than risk a roadworthiness prohibition notice.

Since the event, the team has been writing to insurers to inform them of the work of Operation Larder and provide them with details of modifications to policy holders’ vehicles to confirm that all have been declared.

PC Lee said: “This is an excellent method to further enhance our strong approach to this issue, and supports our zero tolerance on car enthusiasts coming to Northamptonshire’s roads to race around.”