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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
New powers over Mad Mile drivers
Car being driven at high speed (generic)
The new powers will stop cars being driven at high speed on the A217
New powers have been introduced to disperse "cruisers" who race illegally on a stretch of the A217 in Surrey known by residents as the Mad Mile.

Up to 100 spectators gather along the grass verges at Banstead to watch the late-night races and act as time keepers, often spilling on to the road.

In 2005, 128 cases of dangerous driving and racing were reported to police.

Now police and the local council have introduced a dispersal order to allow officers to break up the groups.

If they fail to disperse or return to the area within 24 hours they can be arrested.

These new powers will give us the different angle we need to finally put a stop to these individuals
Sgt Fiona Dunn

Surrey Police said it is believed to be the first time such powers, under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, have been used anywhere to deal with this kind of problem.

They were introduced in collaboration with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, and will be in place for six months until 17 October.

"I am delighted by the way these powers are being used to help tackle a problem that has been a very real nuisance to residents," said Sgt Fiona Dunn.

"They are rightly tired of these reckless drivers and spectators whose activities have frequently kept them awake until the early hours of the morning."

She said officers had spent a great deal of time patrolling the area and in two high-profile operations had seized vehicles and served warning notices.

"Hopefully these new powers will give us the different angle we need to finally put a stop to these individuals, who put themselves and other road users at risk."

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