BOY racers are putting lives at risk by zooming through Colchester city centre as part of an illegal racetrack, it is claimed.

Vehicles have been seen being driven at speed up Balkerne Hill, across Southway to Headgate and then striking through the heart of the city centre in Head Street.

The racers then either travel down North Hill before looping back round by driving up Balkerne Hill or they turn right and shoot off along High Street.

It comes despite Colchester Council granting the police extra powers to take criminal action against people driving anti-socially.

Castle councillor Steph Nissen said she fears the reckless behaviour could end in a “tragedy”.

“I don’t think it is a big scene but it is a significant problem where people are driving around,” said the councillor.

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“I think there is going to be a tragedy one day.

“I’ve had concerns raised with me, particularly from small business owners who say the driving is causing trouble for them.”

Ms Nissen said racers are also using narrow Church Street and the area surrounding the Mercury Theatre to drive at speed.

Gazette: Racing - boy racers are zooming up Balkerne Hill as part of their illegal routeRacing - boy racers are zooming up Balkerne Hill as part of their illegal route (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Reckless - cars are being driven at speed through Head StreetReckless - cars are being driven at speed through Head Street

They then congregate in St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill.

“Church Street is very much a pedestrian thoroughfare,” added the councillor.

“If people are stumbling out of a venue there, perhaps a bit tipsy, and someone comes zooming round the corner it is going to end in tragedy.”

The police and council officers were given extra leverage to prosecute motorists causing a nuisance when a Public Space Protection Order was put in place in September last year.

Gazette: Route - Southway connects motorists with Headgate which takes them into the city centreRoute - Southway connects motorists with Headgate which takes them into the city centre (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Concerned - Castle councillor Steph NissenConcerned - Castle councillor Steph Nissen (Image: Newsquest)

The borough-wide order, running for three years, received widespread support during its consultation period.

One Colchester resident told the council: “Much needed and long overdue to deal with incessant racing, loutish behaviour, excessive noise and constant danger to other road users.”

A Colchester Council spokesman branded the behaviour of boy racers in and around Colchester “unacceptable”.

“We are extremely concerned about the impact this dangerous, criminal and antisocial behaviour can have not only on the safety of our communities, but on the drivers themselves,” he said.

“We will continue to work closely with the police to address this issue and enforce the PSPO to its fullest extent.”

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