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Restaurants celebrate police cruiser fightback
7:30am Saturday 12th October 2013 in News
A HUGELY popular Lakeside restaurant has praised police for stamping out the threat posed by boy racers as business booms.
Nando’s is one of the most popular restaurants in the area, but had struggled for business as suped-up cars caused chaos.
But since the inception of Operation Wagtail earlier this year, eateries have been seeing increased custom with more people visiting.
Jay Murray, manager at chicken restaurant Nando’s, at Lakeside Retail Park, said the police’s work has been vitally important as he was losing 45 per cent of his Saturday custom when the boy racers were at their worst.
He said: “It was really bad a few months ago. The entire car park was full of screeching tyres and it put off customers. We are a family restaurant, but we had barely any families eating here and no younger children.
“However, the last few weeks we have been booming and had record takings in the last two weeks, even though it should have come sooner.
“We have been here four years now and the last few months have been difficult. The financial loss was huge. However, the police have been brilliant and we have turned a corner now.”
Restaurants at the retail park initially suffered as police closed off the car park to cruisers, who were using the space to terrorise shoppers and practice stunts.
But PC Paul Armstrong, who patrols Purfleet and West Thurrock, said police have made more progress this year than in the past 15 years.
He added: “The issue of spectators gathering near The Range to watch the racing has been eradicated.
“Although a handful of cruisers do still turn up, there is nowhere for them to settle.
“However, we cannot let our guard down.
“Nando’s and Pizza Hut have been particularly pleased with our response. Both outlets have received positive feedback from customers who no longer feel intimidated and had been keeping away from the area.
“We are looking to extend the dispersal order throughout the winter and build upon our success.”
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