SPEED traps and number-plate recognition cameras will be used to tackle incidents of anti-social driving at weekly car meet-ups in eastern Newport, say Gwent Police.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden has called for action to clamp down on dangerous and inconsiderate driving, which she said has been making life a misery for many people living in the Spytty area.

“The behaviour that is taking place is an understandable cause of distress and nuisance for local residents, as well as other road users," Ms Morden said.

"I’ve had constituents get in touch with me to say that their children haven’t been able to sleep at night because of the noise from revving engines and racing, and others who simply feel intimidated and fearful that an accident could happen."

Such meet-ups of car enthusiasts regularly take place on Sunday afternoons, when shops' car parks in the Spytty area are largely deserted. Some of the larger events, which are usually organised on social media, have involved hundreds of vehicles.

South Wales Argus:

Gwent Police sends officers to monitor the meet-ups and gather evidence of any anti-social or dangerous driving.

Inspector Martin Cawley said the police's approach was a balance between reaching out to the majority of attendees, who are peaceful and law-abiding, and punishing offenders who endangered public safety.

"We would facilitate and lawful and peaceful meeting of any group, but when their behaviour becomes anti-social and impacts on the community - we’ve had reports of dangerous driving, inconsiderate driving, and a number of RTCs (road traffic collisions) linked to the gatherings - that we obviously can’t tolerate," he said.

Gwent Police officers have handed out large numbers of speeding tickets and seized vehicles, he added, and the force is exploring other enforcement options which have been brought in elsewhere in the UK.

This could include an injunction, or Public Space Protection Order, to ban any car meet-ups outright. West Midlands Police had already brought in such a measure, Inspector Cawley said.

Gwent Police is still in the evidence-gathering phase of the long and legally complex process of deciding whether this is an option which could be used in Newport.

Other more immediate enforcement measures include traffic orders on the Southern Distributor Road (A48) and the A4810, which will allow mobile speed cameras to be used there; and a new automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) camera outside the Tesco supermarket in Spytty that will fine drivers who spend too much time in the firm's car park outside business hours.


But Inspector Cawley said the police were mindful not to simply move the problem to another site in the area. As well as targeting illegal drivers, he said police officers keen to reach out to the law-abiding car enthusiasts and ensure future meet-ups were safe and residents felt at ease.

"We’re doing everything we can, and we’re working as quickly as we can, to give those residents some peace," Inspector Cawley said.

One way for residents to report any anti-social driving, he added, was through the Wales-wide scheme, Operation Snap. Using this website, members of the public who record illegal driving can send their footage to the police, helping with the long-term evidence-gathering process.