400 vehicle car meet 'unacceptable' as enthusiasts distance themselves from anti-social behaviour

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

More than a thousand people showed up to an un-authorised car meet in Hampshire over the weekend sparking a drug driving arrest, fines and warnings by police over what they described as an 'unacceptable risk to public safety'.

Fifty cars initially turned up at Rownham’s services before travelling to ASDA in Havant. The group then moved onto Sainsbury’s in Farlington where it is estimated more than 400 vehicles turned up, with more than 1,500 people congregating.

Videos on social media show vehicles circling a car park with hundreds of people gathering to watch.

Watch: Video shows hundreds of onlookers watching vehicles circle a car park at an 'un-authorised' meet in Hampshire

During the car meet, police arrested one driver for drug driving who was seen going more than 130mph along the A27 in a race with another vehicle.

Meanwhile 59 warnings were issued to other drivers, meaning police can seize their vehicles if they continue displaying anti-social behaviour. Two drivers were reported for careless driving, and two fines were issued for number plate offences.

Councillor Simon Bosher and local resident heard the noise from his home which is around three quarters of a mile away from the supermarket,

"The first instance I thought it was fireworks that was going off, once I'd come outside and had a listen, then you could pick up on the drag racing and clearly the donuts were being done in the car park.

"It was a case of my heart started to sink because I knew the impact that it was going to have on the local residents and the frustrations that they would feel.

"It's all about about the thrill, the speed and the adrenaline without any thought for the local residents whatsoever."

Watch: Craig is a car enthusiast and says the anti-social behaviour is not what car meets are about

Craig is a car enthusiast and says "We're not all boy racers. We don't all like racing up and down dual carriageways, motorways, or whatever else.

"You get people that like to go out on a weekend and get drunk, but we [car enthusiasts] put our money into our cars.

"The local authorities and the local police force, if we can get around the table and talk about it, they could actually give us an area to go to. Then they can keep an eye on it and monitor the situation and see how it goes."

While Hampshire Police understands car enthusiasts want to show their passion for the hobby, officers say the unauthorised and un-licenced events cause concern for local residents due to 'noise, anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving'.

Chief Inspector Chris Spellerberg said: "The majority of car enthusiasts want to meet because they are passionate about their hobby, however Saturday's activity demonstrates there are a minority who cause disruption and put members of the public at serious risk.

“By travelling at extremely high speeds and under the influence of drugs, you could kill someone, including yourself. This behaviour is simply not acceptable."

Organisers of car meets are being told they must get the permission of the landowner or local council before hosting events.