Five individuals have been sentenced after admitting breaching a High Court injunction which bans car cruising in the Black Country.
They appeared at the High Court in Birmingham this morning (Monday 26 November 2018) after previously pleading guilty to participating in a car cruise in Bilston on the evening of Saturday 17 March 2018.
A local resident recorded video footage of a number of breaches of the injunction, with one vehicle performing stunts, driving on the wrong side of the road and doing spins the wrong way around a roundabout.
Three other vehicles were filmed parked side by side across the road and causing an obstruction on the highway. The incidents took place on Springvale Avenue in Bilston.
Evidence submitted to the court stated that inclement weather on the night had left the road in a treacherous condition, meaning the car cruise, while already unacceptable in good conditions, was “positively reckless” in the circumstances.
Thomas Willis, 23, of Dark Lane, Featherstone, Callum Cunnane, 20, of Holly Lane, Erdington, James Pallett, 26, of Whinberry Rise, Brierley Hill, James Jones, 21, of Paxton Road, Stourbridge, and Wendy Riley, 22, of Bottle Kiln Rise, Brierley Hill, admitted breaching the injunction by participating in the car cruise.
Willis, who performed the spins around the roundabout and whose behaviour was described as the most serious, was sentenced to 28 days in jail, suspended for the life of the injunction. Cunnane, Pallett and Jones were each fined £500, and all five defendants were ordered to pay £114 costs. Meanwhile, a sixth defendant gave an undertaking to the court.
His Honour Judge McKenna, sitting as a High Court judge, said the defendants were “taking part in an event which is in prohibited by a High Court injunction and any breach of a court order has to be taken very seriously.” He added that the activity defined as car cruising has become endemic and that participants are adding to what is a serious and increasing problem for local authorities in the Midlands.
The case was brought by the City of Wolverhampton Council which, together with Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall councils and West Midlands Police, secured the ground-breaking injunction in 2015.
It bans people from taking part in a car cruise anywhere within Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell or Walsall, or from promoting, organising or publicising any such event in the same area.
Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “This injunction has helped to dramatically reduce the menace of car cruising across the Black Country.
“We are continuing to take action against people suspected of breaching the High Court ban, and the sentences handed out in relation to this incident demonstrate that we remain committed to tackling the problem.”
Councillor Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Governance, added: “The message is clear; if you take part in, organise or promote a car cruise in the Black Country, you will be in breach of the High Court injunction and could face severe consequences.”
The injunction, which will be in place until at least January 2021, defines car cruising as:
- two or more motor vehicles (including motorbikes) between the hours of 3pm and 7am being on a highway or in a publicly accessible place within the Black Country at which any such vehicle or occupant of a vehicle performs any of the prohibited activities listed below which causes, or is capable of causing, any of the prohibited consequences set out in below. Participating in car cruising means being the driver of, or being carried in (or on), a motor vehicle (including motorbikes) in circumstances in which the above applies.
The prohibited activities referred to above are:
- Speeding; driving in convoy; racing; performing stunts; sounding horns or playing music as to cause a significant public nuisance; using foul or abusive language; using threatening, intimidating behaviour towards another person; causing an obstruction on a public highway, whether moving or stationary.
The prohibited consequences referred to above are:
- excessive noise; danger or risk of injury to road users, including pedestrians; damage or significant risk of damage to property; significant risk of harm; significant public nuisance; significant annoyance to the public.
Anyone breaching the injunction risks of being in contempt of court, for which they can face up to two years in prison and/or a fine. They could also have assets – such as their vehicle – seized and crushed.
For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/carcruisingban. Incidents of car cruising should be reported to West Midlands Police on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.