Boy racers face having their cars taken away
BOY racers are set to have their vehicles seized from today under new powers police chiefs have pledged to use in a blitz on antisocial drivers.
Cars, motorcycles and other vehicles will be impounded by officers if they are causing fear or alarm in the community.
The cost of recovery was set at 150 from yesterday with a daily storage fee of 20 for non-collection. Drivers who fail to pay the levy will have their vehicle scrapped.
The announcement comes as the first official warning in the Lothians was issued to a teenage driver this week.
The 19-year-old from Haddington, East Lothian, now faces having his car seized after he was reported for continually sounding his horn in the town's High Street.
Alarmed pedestrians alerted police, who will confiscate the vehicle if he commits the same offence within the next 12 months.
The powers were granted by the Scottish Executive under Section Ten of the Antisocial Behaviour Act passed last November.
Lothian and Borders Police have come under attack for failing to make use of the measures since they were enacted a year ago.
But police chiefs today warned drivers the legislation will now be applied after they overcame problems with vehicle storage and administration.
Inspector Douglas Kirkham, of the traffic branch, said: "This piece of legislation gives the police strong powers to be able to take positive action to assist communities, where up until now our ability to deal effectively with nuisance drivers and their vehicles whether on or off road has been limited.
"It will make a considerable difference to communities and residents across the force area, whose lives have been blighted by careless and inconsiderate use of vehicles and motorcycles, both on and off the roads."
CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts will be used to gather evidence on antisocial offenders.
Police officers can take possession of vehicles after a formal warning has been given against the driver.
Vehicles that are seized can only be returned to the owner after a removal fee and any storage charges have been fully paid.
After a formal warning has been recorded against the driver and the vehicle itself, police can then seize and retain the vehicle if it is used in similar circumstances by anyone else.
Inspector Dennis Hunter, antisocial behaviour co-ordinator for the police's Safer Communities Department, said the system for carrying out seizures was now in place.
He added: "In this particularly complex area we have had to look at storage and at how we record warnings given under the scheme."
Sheila Gilmore, the councillor in charge of tackling antisocial behaviour, said: "I am very pleased that the police are now going to use these powers, particularly for seizing motorbikes, which is an area where most of the problems of antisocial drivers occur. Existing remedies have not been effective and the loss of someone's bike is a pretty effective sanction."
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