‘Operation Walk Home’ to target boy racers in Sidmouth

Manor Road Car Park

Manor Road Car Park - Credit: Archant

Police have pledged to make Sidmouth a ‘hostile environment’ for boy racers with a series of measures aimed at cracking down on nuisance motorists.

Codenamed ‘Operation Walk Home’, the low-tolerance approach will target drivers of modified vehicles who have blighted the lives of residents with tyre screeching and loud music into the night.

Briefing town councillors on Monday, PC Simon Blyth said officers would be making full use of new laws which allow them to seize un-roadworthy vehicles – and that two such cars had already been sent to the scrap yard.

He said: “We intend to make Sidmouth a hostile environment for those who wish to bring their souped-up cars into town.

“We have the intention of actually taking the cars away from Sidmouth.

“Two vehicles so far have been put on the back of a low-loader, taken away, and are now cubes of about four metres-squared.”

PC Blyth, who previously served as a traffic officer, said police would be checking every aspect of modified vehicles for any infractions – down to number plates being compliant and windscreen washers topped up.

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He said officers also have a car fitted with automatic number plate recognition technology at their disposal, which quickly checks if cars are properly taxed and insured.

PC Blyth added: “It sounds somewhat low-tolerance, and it is to a certain degree.

“Don’t bring your vehicles here if you are going to upset the local populace and you’re going to drive in a foolish manner - certainly if your vehicles are not in a roadworthy condition.”

However, residents living near Manor Road car park – where boy racers frequently congregate – fear the operation will not stop the problem in the long-term.

A 50-signature petition from homeowners in the area was submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) last week, asking the authority to consider locking the facility at night or installing CCTV.

EDDC asked Sidmouth Town Council for feedback, but at Monday’s meeting, members resolved to wait and see what impact the police operation makes before reviewing the situation.