Crawley police and council officers have got new powers to combat anti-social road racers.
Crawley Borough Council has introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) designating Crawley as an area prohibiting the anti-social use of vehicles known as ‘car cruising’.
Car cruising is where drivers meet to race or show off their cars.
A council spokesman said: “ Over the past three years, businesses and residents have been affected by vehicles gathering in large groups and drivers engaging in anti-social use of vehicles, particularly in Manor Royal Business District and Tilgate Park.”
The PSPO allows police and council officers the authority to issue fixed penalty notices.
If they are not paid, the driver can be taken to court and fined.
Councillor Brenda Smith, Cabinet member for Community Engagement and Public Protection at Crawley Borough Council, said: “Now we have the PSPO in place, I hope we start to see a decrease in car cruising and car cruising events in Crawley.
“I’m glad the council and police have more power to prevent further damage to public and private land as well as excessive car noise, which has been the cause of disrupted sleep for many.”
Chief Inspector Rosie Ross added: “Sussex Police support the introduction of the PSPO, after issues were raised by the public and local residents regarding an increase in the nuisance of anti-social behaviour related to the use of vehicles in the town centre.
“This activity can clearly have a detrimental impact on the quality of life for those in the locality and a PSPO in place will allow authorised council officers to take appropriate enforcement action against those involved.”
Steve Sawyer, executive director of Manor Royal Business District, said: “This is an important step for the protection of our public spaces from what has become a nasty and enduring problem.
“The Manor Royal BID first highlighted the car cruising issue a few years ago.
Now, with this order, the authorities are able to send a real message to those intent on anti-social behaviour and provide reassurance to businesses that the issue is being taken seriously.”
The PSPO will be in effect for three years unless it is extended by the council under section 60 of the Act.
The order means it’s an offence for anyone to:
* Participate in car cruising or a car cruising event
* Encourage any other person to participate in car cruising or a car cruising event
* Congregate to watch car cruising or be in attendance to watch a car cruising event
* Attend a car cruising event to supply or sell to those present any food, drink, goods or services
* Urinate in a public place while participating or attending a car cruising event.