Nearly 200 traffic fines were given to Christchurch boy racers with further charges likely as police investigate hoax emergency calls made during a secret event.
The event, called the Aves Invasion, kept some residents across the city awake until sunrise. Organisers labelled it "off the hook".
Police handed out 177 infringement notices over the course of the 'invasion', held on Friday and Saturday nights, for offences including speeding, burn-outs and dangerous driving.
"It is very clear from the behaviour over the weekend of some of the boy racers that they have decided to [flout] the law," Canterbury metro commander Superintendent Lane Todd said.
"We will not tolerate any behaviour of this nature in the future and we can ... [assure] our community that enforcement action will be taken."
Todd said he was aware of one incident where bottles were thrown at police cars. Boy racers allegedly made several hoax calls to emergency services, he said.
Todd would not elaborate on the nature of the calls, but said they were sufficiently serious that police had to respond urgently to certain areas. "Obviously that freed them up to do what they wanted to do."
It was a huge concern, Todd said, and a waste of police time. The road policing team was gathering evidence as part of a wider investigation into behaviour over the weekend, and would look at further charges.
Police managed to quash the event on Friday night, and proceeded to block off the four avenues bordering central Christchurch on Saturday evening.
But that only pushed the racers out into the suburbs, where the revving, racing and police sirens continued for hours. Hotspots included Dyers Pass Rd, areas of Hornby and Sawyers Arms Rd.
Todd said the police relationship with boy racers had improved in the last six months but events over the weekend had made it go backwards.
"We're extremely disappointed," he said. "How would they feel if it was their grandmother in their house and having this behaviour outside their house at 3am?"
Although no-one was killed or seriously injured, Todd said they could have been.
"Some of the footage that we've seen, there's extreme danger, people doing burnouts in a group that are just standing and people are pushing the cars while they're doing burnouts," he said.
"We've seen it overseas where people get killed and seriously injured. That's the sort of thing we really want these people to take on board, how are they going to feel if they kill or injure one of their mates?
"We've had a total of five people killed in Christchurch city over recent weeks."
Twenty police officers had been working specifically to deal with the event, Todd said.
A post on the Chch Dwnunda Facebook page, the group that organised the event, said Saturday night was "off the hook".
"Friday night cops where rolling our meets then Saturday we where step ahead of the police. [sic]
"We truly love seeing the whole Christchurch car scene together and seeing smiles. Can't believe how last night [Saturday] went, it was off the hook.
"Christchurch still has a scene when cars are out and ripping s.... up at 7.30am.
Todd warned that boy racers could face fines or even have their cars impounded if they broke the law.
Many Christchurch residents voiced their anger with the racers.
One Twitter user described Saturday night's activity as "a constant scream of police sirens filling the neighbourhood".
New road rules for Dyers Pass were introduced in April. Governor's Bay resident Rosie Belton said the road was covered with black skid marks on Sunday morning.
"We feel sorry for the police, they don't have the resources to cope with this sort of event."
National MP Judith Collins, nicknamed Crusher, praised police for taking the problem seriously. Collins introduced a law in 2009 allowing vehicles to be seized and destroyed as part of a plan to target illegal street racing.
"It's a real problem under the Labour government ... they need to put it back into action."
RISKS FOR BOY RACERS
Police are also warning boy racers that their cars could be impounded if the driver:
- Is disqualified or had their licence suspended or revoked
- Commits a drink-drive offence, and had two previous drink drive convictions in the previous four years
- Is caught drag racing, performing street car stunts such as burnouts, or has broken a law that prohibits "cruising".
- Fails to stop when requested by police
- Has an alcohol interlock licence and the car doesn't have an alcohol interlock device fitted.