Local authorities are clamping down on car meet-ups and street racing across the UK, with one city threatening a city-wide ban on organised gatherings.
Last week, Stoke-on-Trent City Council launched an investigation into illegal street racing. And last year, police in Birmingham arrested several suspected street-racers to enforce a high-court ban.
Following a spate of illegal gatherings in local supermarket car parks over the summer, the Stoke council has asked staff to gather witness statements and CCTV footage to investigate the problem.
The council is considering a city-wide injunction on cruising following incidents and racing across several areas of the city.
While all organised gatherings are banned under Covid-19 restrictions, car enthusiasts in the city are calling for a dedicated area to be set up after those restrictions are lifted instead of an outright ban.
Street racing has also long been a problem in Birmingham, known as the UK’s ‘street racing capital’, and has been subject to a High Court ban since 2016. However, several high-profile races were still reported in 2020.
Incidents were particularly bad during the first lockdown, with police tackling 30 street racers in the area in May, before swooping again in June. In May, the Birmingham Mail reported hundreds of people meeting to watch illegal races in the city along Heartlands Parkway.
A spokesperson for the West Midlands Police told Autocar: “Street racing and anti-social vehicle gatherings are a nuisance and a danger for our communities, and we take the issue incredibly seriously.
“We receive regular complaints from members of the public about car cruising, which can attract hundreds of cars and spectators, and we have a number of injunctions in place on key arterial routes across the West Midlands.
“At this time especially, it’s not just the motorists that are a hazard but the spectators too, as large gatherings only increase the risk of spreading Covid-19.”