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Police crack down on 'boy racers'

Police in one of the swoops, blocking off car park entrances in Crayford to question drivers who have poured into the area. Picture: PETER BAYLIS
Police in one of the swoops, blocking off car park entrances in Crayford to question drivers who have poured into the area. Picture: PETER BAYLIS

POLICE have swooped to break up a mass gang of boy racers endangering lives with their reckless stunts in public car parks.

The highly-organised gang, with 1,000 members throughout the South East, keeps in contact through a website and meets every week in Crayford.

Officers have twice poured into the area to stop the yobs, blocking the car park exits and making arrests.

Bexley Police Sgt Carol Marsh said: “As many as three or four cars screech around, doing handbrake turns and wheelies while their friends watch and cheer them on. They are endangering the lives of other car park users and we are determined to stop them. Somebody could be killed."

For the last six weeks members of the gang, who call themselves the South East Cruise, have been meeting on Thursday nights at the Tower Retail Park car park and the Ladbrokes and Sainsbury’s spaces.

They have torn around the area and stopped terrified staff and customers from McDonald’s and Sainsbury’s reaching their cars. They carry out stunts such as the “doughtnut circuit," leaving circular marks on the ground from their tyres.

Up to 180 of the gang and their hangers-on have come to Crayford with about 120 cars, plus about 25 motorcycles.

They have also been causing nuisance through excessive noise and over the last three weeks police have monitored them and filming them in action.

They have also trawled through the yobs’ website, which has boastful stories of wild driving antics and details of future meeting times and places.

Officers, working in co-operation with the council, swooped on two successive Thursday nights, checking driver and car details.

In the first raid two people were arrested, 35 drivers were given fixed penalty notices and three vehicles were issued with notices banning them from the road.

In the second, 19 vehicles were reported as unroadworthy and 18 drivers received fixed penalties for conditions such as bald tyres caused by wheel spins.

South East Cruise also meets at Bluewater, Brighton and Hastings and police believe it also chose Crayford because of its closeness to the M25.

Police are also liaising with other agencies such as Kent Police to stamp out the problem and were joined in local raids by Bexley Council environmental health officers.

The gang mostly consists of men, aged on average in their early 20s, with the youngest are in their late teens.

Sgt Marsh said: “It is surprising that the oldest are in their mid-30s. They should know better at that age. Some of the gang are clearly in well-paid jobs. They have big cars, which are probably valued at £10,000 to £15,000.

“With others cars a lot of money has clearly been spent on customising them. We know that a lot of the group at Crayford are local people and we would ask others to let us know who they are."

Anyone with information that might help contact Bexley Police on 0208 301 1212 and ask for the Borough Intelligence Unit.

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