A BLACKWOOD councillor has thrown down the gauntlet to Gwent Police Chief Constable Keith Turner over the town's boy racer problem.

Kevin Etheridge has written to Mr Turner inviting him to take part in direct action with Blackwood in a peaceful road block of the town's High Street. Councillor Etheridge said: "I'm throwing down the gauntlet to the chief constable because Blackwood is getting like the Wacky Races and enough is enough.

"We aren't talking about a problem that's gone on for two or three years, but 15, stretching back to the 1980s, and I would like to see a policing blitz. "We've decided on a road block because we believe direct action is the only way forward.

"Residents have had enough of blaring music, the screeching of brakes and cars racing at considerable speeds.

"The concern is there may be a number of serious accidents waiting to happen."

The councillor was backed up by a resident, who did not want to be named, who said: "It is horrendous and I know one woman who feels suicidal about it. You wouldn't realise how bad the problem is unless you came up and saw it for yourself.

"There are bikers doing wheelies going down the High Street. Why aren't they being picked up on the CCTV cameras?

"I'll be supporting and joining the protest and I think there will definitely be many more people who are prepared to do so."

A spokesman for Gwent Police, who have staged crackdowns on the problem in the past, said the chief constable was unable to comment. Chief Superintendent Ian Johnston, the head of police for Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent, said of the boy racers: "We got rid of them once and we're not going to have the same problem back again.

"If they have decided to come back then we are going to take a strong stance again.

"The matter will be dealt with by traditional policing methods. "We won't be part of any extreme action proposed by anyone.

"The appropriate legislation will be used to deal with them." The police now have new powers to seize offenders' vehicles. They have to pay £140 to get their cars back.

During a recent operation, several warnings were given to the cruisers and some were reported under the Road Traffic Act. Some motorcycles were seized, but no cars.