Car meet organisers hit back at ‘Grand Theft Auto’ blast

One of the cars racing around the one-way system
One of the cars racing around the one-way system

ORGANISERS of a car meet that had to be closed down after reports of dangerous driving have hit back on social media.

Writing on the WiganToday facebook page, Sam Bickerstaffe, who is believed to have organised the Ultimate Car Cruise End of Summer Meet, said that it passed off without incident and had nothing to do with people driving irresponsibly on public roads.

A car performing donuts

A car performing donuts

Hundreds of cars gathered in Chapel Street car park, Harrogate Street car park, around Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court and in Lidl’s car park at around 7pm on Sunday night.

Police were forced to intervene after reports that some drivers were using the one-way system in Wigan town centre as a racetrack, running red lights and performing donuts on public roads.

Mr Bickerstaffe wrote: “It never got shut down. The meet was legal and no anti social behaviour happened at the meet.

“Anti social behaviour happened away from the meet on public roads. All this was signed off and everyone was notified.”

It never got shut down. The meet was legal and no anti social behaviour happened at the meet

Sam Bickerstaffe

Police confirmed that they were aware of the meet taking place and that usually there is no trouble at such gatherings.

But they were forced to intervene on this occasion as they believed the actions of some of the drivers were putting members of the public in danger.

A resident who lives nearby told the Wigan Evening Post: “It was awful. The noise was horrendous. The screeching of tires and the car engines being revved.

“There have been similar meetings there before but not on this scale. I think it just got out of hand.

Some of the cars parked on Chapel Lane

Some of the cars parked on Chapel Lane

“They were racing, there is no denying it. I could see them. I first noticed it about 7pm because the traffic was getting really heavy and it wasn’t long before it was gridlocked and it didn’t stop until after 10pm.”

The incident has split opinion amongst the Post’s readers with some saying the meet was a great event while others believe some of the drivers were being irresponsible and posed an unnecessary risk to the public.

Annette Lees wrote on Facebook: “My son and his friends went. He said it was great and the people there were friendly and let them have pictures taken in their cars.”

Will McCulloch said: “Really good spectacle. Took my little lad for an hour and he loved it. Some people need to get a grip!”

But David Garswood said: “Flying round a town centre in normal traffic isn’t funny. My family and I were passing through the town centre as it was happening. I have two boys aged six and nine.”

Charlotte Price said: “I have two children and live nearby! The noise was horrendous and inconsiderate for those in the hotel opposite! Take your cereal box cars elsewhere and come back when you can show off a car worth showing off!”

Marc Nicholls said: “Racing is a bit of fun! Tell that to the parents of the girl from Shropshire! Racing is for tracks! I hope no one gets hurt through some idiot racing on public roads.”

Suzanne Morris said: “We thought we were in a scene from Fast and Furious.”

Peter Hill concluded: “I think I agree with parts of both sides, I just don’t think it’s a good image for the town to have it on the street like that.”

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