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Boy racers hauled before the courts
10:13am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
A BOY racer was arrested just minutes after being disqualified from driving for taking part in dangerous cruises at Lakeside.
Charles Watts, 24, was one of 16 people dealt with by Basildon magistrates on Monday after a police crackdown which saw 80 drivers charged.
They were caught at speeds of up to 80mph on a 40mph stretch of dual-carriageway near the shopping centre in Thurrock.
Magistrates gave Watts six penalty points for driving at 67mph, meaning he was automatically disqualified for nine months, as he already had six points on his licence for previous offences of speeding and using a mobile phone while driving.
Sgt Simon Willsher, who led the crackdown, said Watts was later arrested in Westgate, Basildon, on suspicion of driving while disqualified and without insurance. He will return to court on October 17.
Watts, of Congreve Street, Walworth, south east London, had claimed in court he could not pay his £183 fine as he had just £1 on him.
Boy racer “cruises” take part around Lakeside most weekends, with up to 1,800 cars from as far away as Manchester turning up and hundreds of spectators lining the kerbs to watch.
Since police launched Operation Wagtail in April and May, numbers have dropped significantly, with officers making more progress in the last six months than in the past 15 years.
Sgt Willsher added: “It’s good so many boy racers have been brought to court because it means we can deal with the issue.
“But at the same time I wish we didn’t have any of them here at all because that would mean we don’t have a problem in the first place.
“We have this issue with cruising all over the county, but we are prioritising Lakeside because of the extra danger of all the pedestrians who line up to watch.
“In any other situation, many of these people would have been offered speed awareness courses, but we are concerned about how dangerous these drivers are, as much as their speed.”
Among the other drivers dealt with in court were Christopher Wyss, 24, of Dene Path, South Ockendon, who was handed three penalty points, a £200 fine and ordered to pay £90 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge for driving his Honda at 47mph.
Paul Gibbs, 42, of Purfleet Road, South Ockendon, admitted driving his VW Golf at 55mph, but claimed he was not part of the cruising event.
He was given three points on his licence and ordered to pay a £113 fine, £90 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
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