A CRACKDOWN on noisy boy racers accused of treating Cirencester like a Grand Prix circuit has been welcomed.
A dispersal order was put in place over the weekend which allowed police to direct groups of two or more to leave the Love Lane area for 24 hours if they believed their behaviour was likely to result in members of the public being harassed, alarmed or distressed.
Failure to comply would be a criminal offence.
The dispersal order, issued under section 34 the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, was deemed a success after no one was seen in the area.
A spokesperson for Gloucestershire police said: “Police are continuing to patrol the area and liaise with businesses to help minimise anti-social behaviour in the Love Lane area.
“Other work may include the re-introduction of another dispersal order.”
There have been a number of incidents of loud cars disturbing residents late at night in recent months.
In January, the new Spratsgate Lane roundabout was damaged by cars driving over it, while in April modified cars were spotted doing doughnuts on the Wickes car park.
On May 21 between 75 and 100 cars congregated on Love Lane. Police officers dispersed the group without the need for arrests or confiscating vehicles.
Jill Rixon, who lives on nearby Oaklands, welcomed the police action.
“There’s been a lot of people complaining,” she said.
“It echoes around at nighttime. You can hear the scream of the tyres.
“They are upsetting young families, older people, pets and causing a nuisance to everybody.
“It’s a danger. There are bystanders who could be seriously injured.
“They are going to kill somebody if not themselves.
“I don’t want to be a killjoy but they are treating our town like a Grand Prix circuit and that’s totally unacceptable.
“It’s a shame they can’t find somewhere to go, a racetrack that can take them.
“I think the police are trying to get on top of it. They are trying to sort it out.
“I would like to see one of the cars confiscated, that would teach them all a lesson. The only way is to take their toys away.”
Ray Brassington, who is Cotswold District Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel, said he had been liaising with police and hoped the dispersal order would deter further problems.
He said: “The noise from engines being revved and tyres screeching can be heard over a large area.”
Asked about the powers they had to tackle this kind of behaviour when a dispersal order was not in place, a spokesperson for Gloucestershire Police said: “Police have a number of powers to help them manage issues of Anti-Social Behaviour related to driving.
“One used to assist with dispersing individuals is Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002. This relates to driving in an anti-social manner and means that an individual is required to provide their name and address when asked by an officer. Refusal could lead to their arrest.
“Police can also give a Section 59 warning to drivers if they breach the Road Traffic Act 1988. This relates to careless and inconsiderate driving which is causing, or is likely to cause alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public.
“This behaviour has to happen on two occasions for the warning to be given. The vehicle can be confiscated if the person ignores the warning and continues to act in the same way.”