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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Ex-boy racer mayor issues warning
Cllr Les Skilton - picture courtesy of Newtown Town Council
We just didn't care less, we were speed freak idiots
Cllr Les Skilton
A town mayor has talked of his past as a boy racer in a bid to curb young people from driving recklessly.

Cllr Les Skilton, from Newtown, urged youngsters to "get on a track" if they wanted to speed.

The 37-year-old, who was prosecuted for careless driving in his youth, is supporting Dyfed-Powys Police in their latest crackdown on boy racers.

He confessed to drag racing down Newtown's main highway and passing drinks between cars while overtaking.

The father-of-two and stepfather of three, who manages a travel firm and drives one of its coaches in Newtown, described how family responsibilities forced him to sell his pride and joy, a Ford Escort RS2000 Custom.

"I remember being in Newtown and wondering what the seaside was like and just making a snap decision to drive to Aberystwyth," he said.

"There would be about 14 or so cars going up there and we use to do stupid stunts on the way. For example, we'd pass bottles of pop to each other through car windows while overtaking - God, that was stupid.

"I had a Ford RS2000 Custom and myself and others used to drag-race down Broad Street at 4am. We just didn't care less, we were speed freak idiots."

Cllr Skilton, who was also an amateur rally driver, said he became more responsible when he decided he wanted to have a family.

Cars being driven through Aberystwyth at night
Boy racers' cars could be confiscated, warn police

"I just woke up one day and decided I wanted a relationship and a family. I sold my RS2000 and bought a family car," he said.

"If people want to drive fast they should get on a race track. There's no room for boy racers on the road and they are not experienced or skilful enough to cope with speed."

Cllr Skilton was prosecuted twice for careless driving in 1986 and 1987. On both occasions he was fined and points were added to his licence.

In recent months, Dyfed-Powys Police have taken steps to clamp down on dangerous driving in Aberystwyth and Machynlleth.

In the latest crackdown in Newtown, Llanidloes and Welshpool, they warned that under new legislation they could confiscate persistent offenders' cars.

As part of the campaign, a poster will be displayed at petrol stations and car parts retailers.

Police said the problem was not confined to one particular area, although car parks, housing estates and some town centre roads were affected more regularly.

Community safety officer Pc Gareth Slaymaker, who is based in Newtown, said there had been many complaints about erratic and dangerous driving.

These included young drivers screeching their tyres and carrying out handbrake turns.

Pc Slaymaker said: "Driving in an anti-social manner could result in your vehicle being confiscated by the police so drive sensibly and safely - don't lose it."

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