Car cruisers and off-road bikers had a shock when police carried out two operations targeting nuisance motorists in the Dunstable area.
Beds Police have been encouraging the public to help identify anti-social motorists in a crackdown on people who think that it is acceptable to drive cars or ride motorbikes, quad bikes, mopeds, scooters or mini-motos in a dangerous way across public land.
Over the weekend of June 14 and 15, some of those responsible for the problem came face-to-face with Local Policing Team officers who were assisted by the Priority Anti-Social Behaviour Team, the ANPR team, the Road Policing Unit, the Special Constabulary and officers from Herts Police riding off-road motorcycles as they carried out Operations Meteor and Reservation.
The team had already seized two motorcycles from the Downside area of Dunstable earlier in the week. Operation Meteor on June 14 targeted specific areas which had been highlighted by local residents, including Downside, Houghton Regis Green, Downside , Tithe Farm, Parkside and Sewell.
Despite no further seizures, officers spoke to a number of individuals and received “positive feedback and information from residents”.
The next day, officers were again in Dunstable following numerous complaints from residents living near Foster Avenue whose lives were being made a misery by car cruisers.
A Beds Police spokesman said: “While the majority of those attending the events were law-abiding car enthusiasts, there was also a small minority who felt it was appropriate to parade their vehicles by driving at excessive speeds, doing donuts and drifting their cars.”
To combat the anti-social behaviour of some of the motorists, police launched Operation Reservation in an attempt to prevent a car cruise from forming on the night.
Officers stopped severalvehicles which resulted in two people being arrested – one for possession with intent to supply drugs and one for drink driving. Three drivers were reported for having no insurance, one motorist was reported for driving while disqualified, three vehicles were seized, five drivers were reported for having defective vehicles and one driver was reported for excessive speeding.
Insp Jim Hitch said: “Operations Meteor and Reservation are long-running efforts to combat the nuisance created by all motorists who find it impossible to drive or ride their vehicles in accordance with the law.”
Officers were able to take full advantage of Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 which gives them the ability to stop anti-social motorists and warn them about their behaviour as well as issuing fines and seizing their vehicles.
Insp Hitch added: “One of the issues is not being able to chase after every single nuisance driver or motorcyclist but by providing information such as names, addresses or where the vehicle may have been previously, we can build up a picture of the offenders and take appropriate action.
“Drivers and riders need to realise that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable . Not only is it an offence, but it is also extremely dangerous for others.”
Anyone with information on nuisance vehicles can contact Beds Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.