One person has been arrested and 22 drivers given tickets after a large car meet in Thurrock and Chelmsford.

The group, of up to 450 cars, initially congregated in the car park of Sainsbury’s in Chelmsford before moving to the Manorway in Thurrock last night (April 4).

Together, local policing officers, road police units, and officers from the Operational Support Group took to each location to disperse the group, who left the area at around 11.50pm.

When they tried to return in the early hours of this morning (April 5) to another site in Chelmsford, officers once again worked to disperse them.

In total one person was arrested and 22 people were given tickets, meaning points on their licence for offences such as speeding and careless driving.

A number of other people also received formal warnings that similar behaviour in the future would result in their car being seized, while a public space protection order was put in place.

Essex Police say such meets not only clearly breach Covid-19 regulations, but also put members of the public at risk from dangerous and anti-social driving.

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Chief Inspector Richard Melton, District Commander for Thurrock, said: “We acted quickly to deal with this challenging situation which involved a meet consisting of a very large number of vehicles.

“These events do pose a danger to the public as there is often an element who will be driving anti-socially and dangerously.

“Only a few years ago a young woman had to have part of her leg amputated after being hit by a motorbike and an illegal meet.

“Our roads policing teams continue to work to tackle street racing, dangerous driving, and anti-social driving because we know the risk it poses and the harm it can cause.

“The sheer number of vehicles involved posted a challenge to our officers but we had additional resources available to deal with it and were able to do so without anyone being injured.

“An organised meet like this is also a clear and blatant breach of the Government’s Covid-19 regulations."

Chief Inspector Melton says the team will continue to work with their partners to stamp out this kind of activity.

He added: “Our partners at Thurrock Council have put additional measures in place, such as a public space protection order (PSPO) which give us increased powers to deal and disperse these events.

“We will continue to work with them to keep you safe on our roads and in our communities.”