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Chch blitz nabs boy racers

Published: 7:12AM Sunday September 23, 2007 Source: Newstalk ZB/One News

Christchurch police are prosecuting more than 500 people after a high-profile campaign against boy racers timed to coincide with a car show in the city over the weekend.

Operation Hornet focused on four popular boy racer areas around the central city, especially Bealey and Fitzgerald Avenues where business owners and residents have been subjected to high levels of vehicle noise.

The campaign was run in conjunction with Land Transport New Zealand, and Ministry of Justice Collections staff and police say they caught five disqualified drivers and 16 drink drivers.

More than 500 tickets were handed out for speeding, licence breaches and not wearing seatbelts while 36 cars were seized for unpaid fines. Other drivers coughed up the money on the spot, leaving nearly $5000 in the care of police.

Another 30 cars considered dangerous were taken off the road.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Derek Erasmus, said the campaign was aimed at removing as many vehicles from the road as possible for unpaid fines or for being in a dangerous condition.

Erasmus said one car pulled over on Friday night had different number plates on the front and rear. He said the rear plate had clocked up fines of $20,000 and the front plate another $10,000.

The campaign received a lot of publicity and Erasmus said staff commented on traffic being lighter than at previous event weekends.

A round of text messaging usually calls the boy-racing fraternity to meet for a cruise but they say they are being unfairly targeted although they do understand why people are angry at them.

"We follow the rules, but like one person will ruin it for everyone else," one of the racing enthusiasts told ONE News.

Another racer admitted "the boys need to keep it off the streets and on the drag strip".

But the organisers of the Auto Saloon car show in Christchurch are washing their hands of boy racer activity on the streets.

Spokesman Cisco Corea says it is not the show's competitors out on the streets causing trouble because the cars can't leave the event at any time during the weekend.

Corea says the event usually draws a crowd of around 10,000.

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