Police prepared to work with ‘cruisers’

BANBRIDGE police have reached out to the organisers of controversial car cruises, asking them to let officers know when they are planning events fo the town.

The news comes after car enthusiasts took to the streets of Banbridge on Sunday and ahead of another planned cruise in Rathfriland this Sunday.

More than 200 cruisers turned up to a similar event, thought to be organised by the same group, in Cookstown two weeks ago. While 60 fixed penalty notices were handed out during that incident, none were issued in Banbridge’s Linenhall Street.

Police said they have no objections to the car cruises but appealed to organisers to let them know if something is being planned and warned those taking part to co-operate with the rule of law.

“I would strongly urge the organisers of similar events in future to make sure they make prior contact with police to discuss how they are organised and we can then set down a clear understanding of what is expected from everyone concerned,” said Area Commander Chief Inspector Ken Mawhinney.

“Police have established good working relationships with cruisers in a number of areas across Northern Ireland, often displaying vehicles such as the Subaru Impreza cars used by our Roads Policing Unit.

“This has worked to the benefit of everyone and we want this approach to continue.”

“We would appeal for persons attending such events to have consideration for residents, other motorists and to be aware of their driving standards and potential inconvenience that such gatherings may bring.”

CI Mawhinney warned all drivers their cars, which are usually heavily modified, must be capable of being used safely on the roads.

Local councillor Joan Baird said the events are unnecessary and should be closely monitored by police.

“This type of thing is far too dangerous, there is no call for it in my mind,” she said. “These people are gathering around the centre of the town near many residential areas. They are disturbing the surrounding neighbours.”