Illegal Street-racers Stopped In Their Tracks
Inspector Will Loughrin, Hamilton City Area Commander:
Police have issued more than 200 infringement notices and made 12 arrests after more than 1,000 anti-social road users blocked roads and exhibited unsafe driving behaviours across Waikato overnight.
Alarmingly, attending Police found a baby in one of the vehicles driven by a group of teenagers believed to have travelled from out of district. The vehicle was subsequently impounded.
Operation Shadow was a Police operation focusing on activity in Hamilton City and the wider Waikato region, targeting illegal street-racing offenders.
There were seven arrests made for excess breath alcohol, two for disorder, one for driving while suspended, one of a breach of home detention, and another had an existing warrant for arrest.
Police issued around 220 traffic infringements, and a number of infringement notices to bystanders who were consuming alcohol within liquor ban areas.
Three people had their licenses suspended.
Inspector Loughrin says there were a number of unsafe behaviours observed by officers.
“There were numerous instances of people blocking intersections – both pedestrians and vehicles – a number of vehicles with no number plates and people wearing balaclavas in direct attempts to hide their identities, and people seen hanging out of windows of cars driven at speed,” he says.
While it was pleasing that the gatherings of people and vehicles dispersed upon Police attendance, Inspector Loughrin says their behaviour was incredibly concerning and puts countless people at risk.
As well as the baby found in a vehicle, there were many people in attendance with children.
“We know the community is sick and tired of this behaviour and people who needlessly put others at risk,” Inspector Loughrin says.
“We want to send a message to anyone involved in this type of behaviour that Police will work incredibly hard to hold you to account for any illegal activity – either at the time or after the fact.”
It wasn’t just illegal street-racing that officers came across. A disorder involving those taking part in this activity resulted in two people being stabbed on State Highway 27 in the Matamata area, shortly after 12.30am. Police are making follow-up enquiries into the circumstances of this incident.
Police will be utilising tools such as CCTV, and other information gathered at the time, to follow up any other criminal offending.
Police thank everyone who reported concerns to us, and appeal to anyone who has information on illegal or unsafe activity to report this to Police via 105 with as much detail as possible.