THE police have been handed extra powers to tackle boy racers across Colchester under major new legislation.

Criminal action can now be taken against motorists causing a nuisance amid the three year clampdown approved by council bosses.

The issue has been seen widespread across Colchester as residents and businesses complain of noise and anti-social driving.

Colchester Council says it has become aware of the car park behind Leisure World, in Cowdray Avenue, being used for car meets.

And the Gazette has reported speed bumps installed to tackle dangerous driving in Smeaton Close, on Severalls Industrial Estate, have instead been used as ramps by dangerous racers.

Gazette: Anti-social - marks left in Smeaton CloseAnti-social - marks left in Smeaton Close (Image: Newsquest)

A Public Space Protection Order was introduced across the whole borough today following a consulation with residents and stakeholders.

It will enable police and council officers to enforce against a wide range of antisocial activities associated with car meets for the next three years.

The move follows complaints to both the council and the police from residents and visitors about anti-social behaviour associated with car cruising.

Incidents involving car racing, engine revving, stunts, amplified music and motorists loitering in groups were among the most complained about issues.

More than 175 responses were received during the consultation with the overwhelming majority in favour of the PSPO, Colchester Council has revealed.

Gazette: Skidmarks - damage left by boy racers outside auctioneer Reeman DansieSkidmarks - damage left by boy racers outside auctioneer Reeman Dansie (Image: Newsquest)

Comments included: “The noise and disruption from cars revving and speeding around at all hours is a real nuisance that effects residents’ quality of life, not to mention the risk involved due to their speed.”

Motorists not complying with the PSPO will now face criminal action taken against them, including a fine of £100.

The regulations also stretch to include those using a skateboard, pushbike, scooter or skates if necessary.

Inspector Stuart Austin, of Colchester’s Community Policing Team, said: “Residents have been kept awake at night due to people racing, revving their car engines and performing stunts. This is unacceptable.

“We will take robust action against anyone breaching the PSPO and fines will be issued.

“This is not about penalising law-abiding car enthusiasts but those who are driving dangerously and behaving anti-socially.”