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Teen racers are going to kill someone in PS20 'runabouts' Warning as gangs buy cheap cars.

Byline: MAURICE FITZMAURICE

DANGEROUS "runabout" cars are being bought for as little as PS20 before being raced around city streets, it was warned last night.

A local councillor said someone is going to be killed or seriously injured by the vehicles which are becoming a significant problem in areas like the Colin district of West Belfast.

Sinn Fein's Stephen Magennis added gangs of teenagers, some as young as 14, are using the cars for a range of anti-social behaviour including erratic driving in built-up areas.

He said the vehicles, also known as runabouts, are being bought from online sale sites by groups of young people.

Mr Magennis added: "There's going to be someone killed or even one of the ones driving them killed.

"In one case a fella was driving one of these cars and hit the brakes and nothing happened and he ended up going through a fence. What if someone had been standing there?

"We had three of them in the Colin area alone over the weekend and three or four of them during last week.

"It's just easier for the ones involved to get a runabout since stealing a car is now so difficult.

"Though in saying that, there's still problems in the area with stolen cars. In a oat o es one case a fella was selling a car and one of the lads who went up got in the driver's seat letting on he was listening to the engine, then the other ones jumped in and they drove off.

"But the runabouts are being bought for next to nothing, then a tenner of petrol stuck in them and they start racing around the area."

Mr Magennis said he is aware of one case where young lads went to buy a car after seeing it online and managed to get it for PS20.

It is claimed one vehicle is believed to have been involved in a hit-and-run in recent weeks, only minutes after being bought. The car was later found burned out.

Mr Magennis added: "The police are acting where they can but there are problems with their hands being tied sometimes because if the car's not stolen they can't always lift it and they end up lying in some field or in the street before being burned out."

He said he is to meet with PSNI chiefs and statutory agencies to establish what can be done to tackle runabouts through, for example, giving the police more powers to lift the vehicles.

m.fitzmaurice@mgn.co.uk

14 Age of some youths believed to be involved in anti-social behaviour

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 23, 2016
Words:444
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