Participants and spectators at a regular car cruising event were handed fines totalling £1,000 – as Nottinghamshire Police issued a clear warning about future gatherings.
Officers have been concerned for some time about regular Sunday evening gatherings off Junction 27 of the M1, where large numbers of modified and high performance vehicles are parked up and driven recklessly around the area.
In response to complaints of anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) has been in place in the area since 2018 – allowing officers to fine drivers, passengers and spectators who gather in the area.
After many weeks of visits to the site where warnings were given, officers returned on Sunday (13 September) and issued £100 fixed penalty notices to ten different people – five of them to spectators. And police have warned they will be back this coming weekend and ready to take action.
Two people were also issued additional road traffic fines for driving without due care and attention after they were spotted racing by a police drone.
Sergeant James Flint said: “We have been very patient at this site for many weeks now and have spent considerable time engaging with people and explaining the restrictions to them.
“Frankly we could have issued dozens of fines in this time but our focus here isn’t about issuing tickets or making money – it is about public safety and anti-social behaviour.
“Too many of the people who attend these gatherings end up driving in a dangerous, reckless or antisocial manner which poses a hazard to other road users and a noise nuisance to anyone else in the area.
“We have tried very hard in recent weeks to engage with them and to explain what will happen if they continue to congregate at the site.
“As many of them clearly haven’t listened we took firm action on Sunday with the help of a police drone, which was able to film people at the event when marked police cars were not providing a visual deterrent.
“We understand that many people are very proud of their vehicles, but these gatherings are a very clear driver of dangerous and reckless driving. As such we are now taking very firm steps to dissuade people from taking part or even standing and watching it.
“We’ll be back up there this Sunday and will not hesitate to take similar action again. I hope the new Rule of 6 Covid regulations will also be uppermost in the minds of any future participants.”
Although most of the problem activity occurs in twin laybys, the Public Spaces Protection Order covers a larger area in and around Junction 27, taking in the length of Mansfield Road from the west side of the M1 to the Annesley traffic lights and Badger Box pub. It also includes the entirety of the Sherwood Business Park and both the north and southbound carriageways on the A611.
The order prohibits driving at excessive speed, aggressive acceleration, stunts such as drifting or wheel spins, the playing of load music, driving in convoy, sounding horns and congregating to spectate.
People found to be in breach of the order by Nottinghamshire Police are given Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) on behalf of Ashfield District Council that may lead to a summary conviction if they are not paid.
Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “Ashfield District Council has been working closely with the police to tackle the ongoing issues at Junction 27. Car cruising is dangerous, not just for those involved but members of the public using the roads safely.
“We will not tolerate this behaviour and these fixed penalty notices should act as a warning to those that think its ok to act in this antisocial way. We will not tolerate lives being put at risk and fines will continue to be issued to those that choose to break the rules.
“The council and police are committed to ensuring that car cruising does not become an issue within the district. We welcome the police action as this behaviour disturbs our local residents.”