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Group admit breaching High Court car cruising injunction

Six people have pleaded guilty to breaching a High Court injunction banning car cruising across the Black Country.

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Car cruising banned in the Black Country

They appeared at a committal hearing at the High Court in Birmingham on Wednesday (30 May) and admitted promoting, organising or publicising one or more car cruises in Wolverhampton. A seventh gave an undertaking to the court while an eighth defendant denied the charge and will face trial this summer.

The prosecution was brought by the City of Wolverhampton Council which, together with Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall councils and West Midlands Police, secured the ground-breaking injunction in 2015. It bans people from taking part in a car cruise anywhere within the Black Country area, or from promoting, organising or publicising any such event in Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell or Walsall.

The charges relate to a car cruise organised by the DAS Supreme Automotive car club which took place at the old Wolverhampton bus depot on Dudley Road in January 2018, and a second meeting, planned for February 2018, which was cancelled after the council wrote to the defendants warning them that they were in breach of the High Court injunction.

The defendants were all moderators or administrators of the DAS Supreme Automotive Facebook page, which had been used to publicise the meetings.

The court heard that, while there had not been any street racing at either event, a number of attendees - not the defendants - had nonetheless caused some of the behaviours associated with car cruising prohibited by the injunction, in particular performing stunts and causing an obstruction on the highway when accessing or leaving the venue.

His Honour Judge McKenna, sitting as a High Court judge, said: "The injunction (was introduced) to restrict an activity commonly referred to as car cruising, and such breaches are inevitably to be treated as serious matters."

Three of the defendants were fined £1,000 each and another 3 had their sentence deferred for 12 months, at which point the matter will be dismissed if they do not breach the injunction again. All 6 were ordered to pay costs of £783.52 each.

The seventh defendant gave an undertaking to the court that he would abide by the terms of the injunction for the life of the injunction and warned that he would be sent to prison if he failed to do so.

Wednesday's successful prosecution follows that of members of the Syndicate Car Club who, through their Facebook page, sought to organise a car cruise on the Peel Street car park in Wolverhampton in January.

Learning of the proposed car cruise, the council wrote to administrators and moderators of the group, pointing out that it would be in breach of the injunction and requiring them to cancel the forthcoming meeting, which they subsequently did.

Four members of the Syndicate Car Club, who had taken positive action to promote the planned car cruise, admitted breaching the injunction and were fined £2,000 each and ordered to pay costs of £147 per person. Another eight members, who had not actively promoted the cruise but had not prevented it from happening, gave an undertaking to the court that they would not breach the injunction again for the life of the injunction.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Since its introduction in 2015, this injunction has helped to dramatically reduce the menace of car cruising across the Black Country, and these latest court actions demonstrate that the council and its partners remain committed to tackling the problem."

Councillor Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Governance, added: "This sends out a strong message that, whether you are organising, participating in or promoting a gathering such as this, you will be breaching a High Court order - and will face severe punishments as a consequence."

The injunction was introduced in February 2015 and extended for a further three years in January 2018. It defines car cruising as:

  • two or more motor vehicles (including motorbikes) between the hours of 3pm and 7am being on a highway or in a publicly accessible place within the Black Country at which any such vehicle or occupant of a vehicle performs any of the prohibited activities listed below which causes, or is capable of causing, any of the prohibited consequences set out in below. Participating in car cruising means being the driver of, or being carried in (or on), a motor vehicle (including motorbikes) in circumstances in which the above applies.

The prohibited activities referred to above are:

  • Speeding; driving in convoy; racing; performing stunts; sounding horns or playing music as to cause a significant public nuisance; using foul or abusive language; using threatening, intimidating behaviour towards another person; causing obstruction on a public highway, whether moving or stationary.

The prohibited consequences referred to above are:

  • excessive noise; danger or risk of injury to road users, including pedestrians; damage or significant risk of damage to property; significant risk of harm; significant public nuisance; significant annoyance to the public.

Anyone breaching the injunction risks of being in contempt of court, for which they can face up to 2 years in prison and a fine. They could also have assets - such as their vehicle - seized and crushed.

For more information, please visit Car cruising injunction. Incidents of car cruising should be reported to West Midlands Police on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

  • released: Friday 1 June, 2018