Police halt ‘Grand Theft Auto’ car meet

The car meet in Wigan
The car meet in Wigan

A CAR meet in Wigan town centre had to be shut down by police after it was deemed to be putting members of the public at risk.

Witnesses have described the event as like something from Grand Theft Auto with drivers skipping red lights and forcing others off the road as they appeared to race around the town centre.

The event, called the Ultimate Car Cruise End Of The Summer Meet, saw hundreds of cars assemble in a car park just off Darlington Street after 7pm on Sunday.

Videos posted on social media show cars lining up at traffic lights mimicking a race starting grid alongside buses and normal traffic.

One video, recorded from a drone, shows a car perform repeated donuts on Darlington Street.

Police were forced to intervene because they deemed that the cars were being driven in a dangerous way but some residents have criticised the police for not stepping in quickly enough.

The organisers make us aware and very often there are no issues but it very much depends on the clientele of the actual group

Inspector Glenn Jones

John Warburton wrote on Facebook: “May I ask why there was no police in Wigan town centre with all of these idiots on the road?

“There is always anger and upset when people are killed or run over by reckless drivers, yet when hundreds of people gather in the town centre to watch these idiots driving so irresponsible there is no police presence to stop them and keep normal road users and pedestrians safe.”

Janet Yates said: “I can’t believe what is going down in Wigan, it’s like Grand Theft Auto.

“Young and old racing through Wigan running folk off road, they nearly hit my car they driving through lights on red and people are cheering them.”

Inspector Glenn Jones, neighbourhood inspector for GMP Wigan West, said: “We were aware that a car meeting was being held.

“The organisers make us aware and very often there are no issues but it very much depends on the clientele of the actual group.

“In this instance they created some issues in the community because of dangerous driving and the volume of cars. As a result of that and concerns from the community, the police responded to the calls that were made.”

He explained that police do not have powers to stop the meetings until an offence has been committed.

“Normally they meet in isolated places late at night where they are only putting themselves in danger,” he continued.

“In this situation the dangerous driving was causing concern and putting members of the public at risk.”