'Someone will be killed' - stark warning after hundreds gather for street racing in Rainham
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:38 29 April 2016
People will be killed if street racers keep performing illegal late night stunts in front of hundreds of onlookers at an industrial estate, police have warned.
The night-time meet-ups organised using social media and inspired by the Fast and Furious films see drivers “drift” by applying their handbrakes while manoeuvring tight turns at speed – as seen at the legal event pictured above.
Huge crowds have gathered at an industrial estate in Ferry Lane, Rainham, to watch drivers drift their cars around a roundabout.
Sgt Colin Flynn, of Rainham and Wennington Safer Neighbourhood Team, told the Recorder: “There are going to be people that are going to be killed.”
Police have warned someone could be killed after 200 vehicles and hundreds of people met on Friday and Saturday night of April 15 and 16 at the roundabout between Ferry Lane and Coldharbour Lane, Rainham.
Abandoned crashed cars and uprooted trees were found at the site following the events.
Sgt Colin Flynn, of Rainham and Wennington Safer Neighbourhood Team, attended a gathering with four police officers, when a crowd in excess of 100 people stood on the verge of the road to watch racers skid around the roundabout.
“It is only a question of time before someone loses control of the car and goes straight into the crowd. There are no barriers, nothing. If one driver comes out of that roundabout, it would crash into the first three rows of people watching. That is my nightmare,” he said.
Reports from earlier this month by a security guard from the London Riverside BID, which manages the regeneration of the site, state “drifters have poured diesel all over the roundabout” and a fire hydrant was used to ”spray the whole roundabout with water”.
Police have issued dispersal and anti-social behaviour order notices and arrested offenders driving without due care.
But Sgt Flynn admitted resources were limited and drained by Romford town centre’s nightlife.
Motor companies have also complained of not being able to access their depots because of hundreds of cars parked along the road.
Havering Council is consulting with the police to issue a public spaces protection order in the area, which would make it a breach of a court order if anyone was caught illegally driving in that zone.
The events seem to have relocated to Rainham from the Lakeside shopping centre, Thurrock, after Essex Police cracked down on the illegal racing last summer.
Steve Biagioni, 28, of Upminster, a professional drifting champion, said: “This is not something that is going to go away and people are still going to want to drift.”
Running sessions in Thurrock for young drivers to learn how to drift safely, Mr Biagioni urged Havering Council to consider finding a space, where street racers could perform drifting stunts in safer conditions.