Race starter and 19 racers receive
driving bans totalling 302 months

18.03.2020

A race starter and 19 racers have received driving bans totalling 302 months for their involvement in a street race in Essex.

James Turner, 28, appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday 13 March, where he was disqualified and was ordered to pay £320 in costs and fines.

He became the first race starter to be successfully prosecuted by Essex Police.

He admitted one count of taking part in a race between motor vehicles on public way after it was found he played a key part in the races we witnessed.

Turner was one of 20 people convicted for racing offences with driving bans issued totalling 302 months – over 25 years – and fines and costs issued that totalled £8,997.

On Sunday 23 June 2019, the force received multiple calls about racing at an industrial estate in Stephenson Road, Little Clacton.

A significant number of drivers had gathered on both sides of the road as well as side roads and business parking areas and racing was obviously taking place.

Turner was seen organising the vehicles and overseeing the race line. He was seen starting dozens of races with a drop of his arms.

Police officers attended and the cars left the scene. After reviewing CCTV – including viewing 850 car movements – the force had sufficient evidence to bring 20 people to court.

Sergeant Simon Wilsher has been leading Operation Calla that targets people either cruising or racing in Essex. He said: “This is a first for us at Essex Police with a race starter, someone who didn’t even get in a vehicle, receiving a lengthy driving ban.

“In fact, he received the longest disqualification out of the 20 prosecuted.

“All the defendants found racing were convicted of having no insurance because their policies did not cover them for racing.

“A number were convicted of careless driving in addition to a racing offence after being found drifting and skidding between races and one man is due be sentenced for dangerous driving offences after being caught driving with people on top of his car.

“These convictions were only made possible thanks to the hard work of case management officer, Jemma Carr, who went above and beyond to provide the court with as much evidence as possible, and Special Constable Ricky Brown who collated as much CCTV as possible.

"We used powers to obtain CCTV locally, meaning we quickly identified the main offenders involved.

“This case should highlight that we will not tolerate racing on our roads. It’s dangerous and can put you and other road users at risk of serious injury or death.

“Even if you’re not sitting in a car but are found to be a key part of the events – in this case a race starter – you may also find yourself before court where you will receive a lengthy driving ban, costs and fines.”

The full list of defendants can be found on the Essex Police website.

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