Friday, February 3, 2023

Car cruising leaving West Thurrock like the “wild west”

WEST Thurrock has become “lawless” and cruisers are causing residents to fear for their safety, a councillor has claimed.

Lee Watson, Labour councillor for West Thurrock and Stifford has pleaded for help to combat reckless car cruisers who are making residents’ lives a misery.

Speaking at a council meeting on Wednesday, she said: “I think we need to have a little bit of a think about what’s happening right now at West Thurrock. West Thurrock is lawless. Night comes. The drones come down.

The car cruising comes out. They actually are so organized that they are on Instagram. They are bragging about it before they’ve even got into West Thurrock.

“About six weeks ago 150 cars showed up at West Thurrock for car racing. They go and sit in TGI Friday’s car park where they take turns in racing.”

She added: “We know residents are scared to go out after 9pm. They are scared to even come home after that time. If they go after that time they are raced against.

“The police turn up. One car. There are only three cars that cover Harlow, Thurrock, Southend and Basildon. The police have lasers in their eyes, they’re having things thrown at them. It is absolutely lawless in West Thurrock.”
Ms Watson said some cruisers come from as far away as Maidstone, Dartford and Beckton before cruIsing in West Thurrock, Basildon, Pitsea and Southend.

Ben Maney, councillor responsible for transport and public safety, responded amid angry shouts from the public gallery. He said “Sadly it is the case that car cruising is an ongoing problem at Lakeside. It has been for very many years now. The council is offering a range of support and advice to the police but this is essentially an enforcement matter rather than a highways matter. There is only so much we can do in that regard.

“For two nights last month our enforcers were out there offering boots on the ground and that resulted in 11 fixed penalty notices for contravening the Public Spaces Protection Order. Six s59 warnings were issued by Essex Police and our officers supported them in their endeavour. I have to stress again it is a law enforcement issue. We aren’t the police.”

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