ANTISOCIAL boy racers can expect tougher sanctions after police announced a no-nonsense approach to careless driving - which includes seizing vehicles - will step up throughout the summer.
During the first coronavirus lockdown last March, South Yorkshire Police reported an increase in car meets and the team now expect to see enthusiasts organise more gatherings across the borough as restrictions continue to ease.
Officers told the Chronicle that Cortonwood retail park, Carlton Industrial Estate and Courthouse car park on County Way, in the town centre, are the main areas of concern.
Ahead of summer, police have warned that ‘immediate action will be taken’ if they find evidence of antisocial car use.
Sergeant Brandon Brown said: “We are traffic officers and car enthusiasts ourselves, and we understand people’s passion for wanting to meet, admire each other’s work and come together.
“What we do not condone is the use of our roads for antisocial behaviour and poor driving. The antisocial behaviour associated with car meets causes concern for the residents of Barnsley and we need to ensure that they are not affected by noise, pollution or damage to our roads infrastructure.
“There are still restrictions on gatherings due to Covid-19 and organisers may still be responsible for large fines, as well as the gatherings being unsafe for participants and the wider public.
“We will take enforcement action where necessary.
“Dispersal powers can and will be used against those that gather and act antisocially and checks will be conducted against drivers’ insurance, licence and car modifications.
“Those driving antisocially may find themselves prosecuted and cars seized under the Police Reform Act Section 59.”
The fresh warning comes after Special Constabulary officers joined local traffic cops on Shawfield Road, in Carlton Industrial Estate, as dozens of enthusiasts gathered recently.
Inspector Jason Booth added: “Dangerous and antisocial driving will not be tolerated in Barnsley and we know car meets tend to increase the likelihood of this happening.( We also know there are a lot of drivers who are passionate about their cars and want to meet with like-minded people.
“Unfortunately, the small minority ruin it for others and cause disruption to our local communities.
“Meets need to be held in a safe and controlled environment. We understand people want to enjoy their hobby, but we also need to protect our communities from the disruption and danger they may pose.( If you are an organiser of a car meet, I urge you to contact me and work alongside us.
“We have created a dedicated email address and small group of officers to help build relationships.”
PCSO Shaun McDermott, who is part of the patrolling team at Cortonwood, said businesses and residents have continually complained about young motorists.
“Our patrols will continue for the foreseeable future,” he added.
“Be advised that our officers have the powers to seize vehicles from the roadside if they are being used in an antisocial way, and charge the recovery of their vehicle to the keeper.”
n If you are organising a car meet or want to get in touch about it, email email@example.com.