Search site

High Court puts brakes on more Black Country car cruisers

Seven people admitted contempt of court by taking part in a car cruise in Wolverhampton when they appeared before the High Court in Birmingham yesterday (Wednesday 13 April, 2016).

Louis Taylor, aged 20, Ben Taylor, 19, Jamie Burke, 23 and Jodie Price, 21, from Wolverhampton, and Lee Robinson, 23, Matthew Evans, 22, and Liam Gowran, 21, of Birmingham were found to have breached the terms of a Black Country wide injunction in a prosecution brought by the City of Wolverhampton Council.

The ground breaking injunction, introduced in February 2015, bans people from promoting or taking part in a car cruise, either as a driver, passenger or spectator.

His Honour Judge McKenna, sitting as a high court judge, heard that the seven had been involved in a car cruise which took place on the Black Country Route on Springvale Way on the evening of Sunday 31 January, 2016.

The Taylors, Burke and Price were drivers and passengers of vehicles which were part of a convoy of 5 vehicles being "led" by an off road motorbike. The convoy was spotted by police officers travelling along the Black Country Route into Springvale Way, who described how one vehicle refused to stop and deliberately drove at them, forcing them to move sharply to avoid being hit.

Meanwhile, Robinson, Evans and Gowran were the driver and passengers of one of between 25 and 30 vehicles which had parked in a layby near to the SMA Car Auctions site with the intention of participating in or watching a car cruise.

The court also considered evidence from a witness who described two cars "driving at speed" along the Black Country Route. The witness described herself being "very shocked and shaking over this experience".

Police say that if they hadn't attended the gathering as quickly as they did, "road racing would have taken place".

His Honour Judge McKenna said: "The allegations admitted are serious. They are not to be underestimated nor played down. The consequences could have been much more serious and very different had the police not been on the scene.

"Only custodial sentences meet that mischief albeit that the sentence will be suspended. High Court orders are not to be trifled with."

The 7 were each given suspended jail terms of between 14 and 28 days, suspended on terms that they comply with the terms of the injunction for the life of the injunction, and ordered to pay a combined total of over £3,600 towards the council's costs.

His Honour Judge McKenna made it patently clear to each of the 7 that any further breaches would not only carry their own penalties but would also see a custodial sentence imposed.

Karen Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Head of Community Safety, said: "The Black Country wide injunction is in place to protect law abiding members of the public and businesses who have suffered for many years from the negative impact of car cruising.

"We are pleased that the High Court has once again sent out a strong message to deter those who are considering taking part on this activity - namely that car cruising in the Black Country will simply not be tolerated.

"The injunction has had a very positive effect, with police and councils reporting a significant reduction in car cruising across the Black Country, and the problem being eliminated altogether in many areas.

"Four other individuals have been convicted of contempt of court in the last 12 months with further prosecutions pending, and the action brought by the City of Wolverhampton Council yesterday shows just how determined we, and our partners, are to eradicating the problem altogether."

The injunction was secured by the 4 Black Country councils and West Midlands Police in February 2015 to tackle car cruisers who were blighting the lives of residents and having a detrimental impact on businesses throughout the region.

It defines car cruising as the act of drivers meeting on the public highway on an organised or impromptu basis to race or show off in their cars, and anyone breaching it by either taking part in a car cruise or by promoting, organising or publicising such an event risks being in contempt of court, for which they could face up to two years in prison and a fine.

Police can also take action against individuals for traffic offences including driving without due care and attention, driving without insurance - no insurance policy covers illegal street racing - or driving an unroadworthy vehicle.

For more information about the injunction, 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: Thursday 14 April, 2016