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'I can't police how people drive': Organiser defends gathering of 350 cars

PUBLISHED: 15:16 16 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:07 17 June 2019

Police broke up a party of more than 100 cars in Bowthorpe Shopping Centre car park (Picture: Google)

Police broke up a party of more than 100 cars in Bowthorpe Shopping Centre car park (Picture: Google)

Archant

The organiser of a car meet that drew 350 vehicles to a car park has defended the gathering - amid fury from residents about "hellish" noise.

Bowthorpe carpark where more than 300 modified car enthusiasts met on Saturday June 15. Picture: staffBowthorpe carpark where more than 300 modified car enthusiasts met on Saturday June 15. Picture: staff

On Saturday night, the modified car enthusiasts gathered at Bowthorpe Shopping Centre car park to show off their vehicles.

The event sparked complaints to the police from people living near the car park - including Jon Watson, 33, who said the sound created by the exhausts was "like gun fire".

Another resident, who wished to be anonymous, said it was "hellish" and added: "It was so loud I couldn't even think, [the noise] was vibrating through the house."

But Connor Graves, the founder of East Coast Cruiserz, which organised the gathering, defended the event.

He said in recent years modified car enthusiasts had found it increasingly hard to find somewhere where they could meet-up and appreciate one another's vehicles.

The 27-year-old, from Norwich, said: "When the police showed up acting on a noise complaint - and we had a feeling they might - we shut it down and they worked with us."

Mr Graves, who apologised for the behaviour of a few "idiotic individuals" who failed to keep the noise down, said: "There's always some good and some bad and I'm not going to deny that but I just wish people would acknowledge the good that we can bring, then the modified community could still have a chance to show off what we love.

"I can't successfully police how people drive, all I can do is ask that people respect the area that we use."

He said that since he set up East Coast Cruiserz in 2015, it had been harder and harder to find acceptable places to meet.

He said: "We work for our cars and make them that little bit better. We build our cars for ourselves but we also like to get a bit of appreciation. There's nowhere for our events to take place.

"It's very hard, some of us spend a lot of money on our cars...95pc of people come out just to speak to like-minded individuals."

A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary confirmed officers were called to Bowthorpe Shopping Centre following reports of antisocial behaviour. They said: "A minority of those in attendance were reported to police as behaving in an antisocial manner and upon police arrival those in attendance dispersed and left the area once spoken to."

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