Special court to be set aside for eighty accused of illegal street racing

EIGHTY drivers have been summoned to a special court hearing for speeding offences connected to illegal street racing in Thurrock.

A courtroom at Basildon Magistrates’ Court has been set aside to hear the cases on Monday September 30.

The prosecutions are the result of Essex Police’s Operation Wagtail which was set up to investigate and reduce dangerous cruiser stunts and road racing in the south of the county.

The 80 drivers were sent court summonses following speed checks were carried out at West Thurrock Way on Saturday nights in April and May.

The dual carriageway has a speed limit of 40mph but speeds recorded by officers ranged from 47mph to 75mph.

Regular patrols and operations continue to be carried out in the area following concerns from local residents about dangerous driving and noise from high-powered cars.

Police videos have shown cars racing along West Thurrock Way and also on the A13 and the A126 alongside the Lakeside shopping centre.

In some of the videos spectators are seen standing on pavements only inches from cars passing at speeds of more than 70mph.

Drivers from a wide area, some from as far afield as Manchester, have been attracted to the area after video clips have been shown on social media.

One ton concrete blocks have been put in place as a temporary measure to close off some of the roundabouts in the area, but on some occasion these have been illegally moved aside to allow them to race around a circuit.

Permanent changes to the road layout to prevent road racing are expected to be put in place in the next few months.

Sgt Simon Willsher, who leads Operation Wagtail, said: “We will take all necessary measures to protect the local community and ensure they can enjoy their homes in peace – anyone considering driving in a dangerous or anti-social manner should be aware we will use a range of tactics and robust enforcement and they too could find themselves at court having to explain their actions to a magistrate.”

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