Dispersal zone will put brakes on boy racers
A CRACKDOWN on boy racers who roar round the Stour Centre car park is about to be launched.
From Monday, police will have the power to take troublesome youths home if they are found congregating in the leisure centre’s car park and surrounded areas.
A six-month dispersal zone around the leisure centre will also stop drivers who use the car park as a race track and allow officers to return children under 16 home if they are out after 9pm.
Sergeant Steve Gamble said: “We have received reports of unbearable noise and antisocial behaviour caused by youths who congregate with their cars in the car park and use the area as a race track.
“The dispersal area will allow police to disperse groups and ban them from the area for up to 24 hours.”
A group is considered to be two or more people misbehaving whether it be racing, playing loud music, shouting or just hanging around for no reason.
Sgt Gamble added: “Youths attending the area for legitimate reasons have nothing to fear and may continue to use the area as long as they are responsible and do not intimidate any members of the pub- lic or cause them harassment, alarm or distress.”
Police say this will include youngsters using the skate park area. The dispersal zone, pictured, includes the Stour Centre, its car parks as well as North Park, Tesco Express off Mace Lane and the adjacent car park.
The problem around the Stour Centre has been going on for a number of years with reports of loud music, drag racing, wheel screeching and congregating youths shouting and screaming.
Last year we reported on the story of Stanhope resident Zoe Relf who was falsely accused of being a “boy racer” after parking her Ford Fiesta outside the leisure centre.
Despite parking her car at the Stour Centre because she worked there as a cleaner, the 35-year-old received a letter from police warning her not to perform wheel spins and 360 degree turns in her silver Fiesta.
It is hoped the six-month ban will completely remove boy racers from the area. Both Ashford council chief executive John Bunnett and South Kent police chief Mark Nottage have committed to working with the youths in the area for a longer-term solution to the problem come June when the dispersal zone is lifted.
Police also enforced a dispersal zone in the Court Wurtin area of Ashford in October to run until January. The area around Ashford’s Stour Centre subject to the police dispersal order
Tyre marks left by boy racers doing doughnut spins at the Stour Centre car park