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Organisers of planned car cruise hit with fines by High Court

Two women who breached a Black Country-wide ban on car cruising by organising a gathering have been hit with fines and costs totalling £3,000 by the High Court.

Chloe Kendrick, 19, of Childs Avenue in Bilston, and Devon Roden, 25, of Highbridge Road, Netherton, admitted breaching an injunction when they planned a meeting in Dudley on Sunday 23 April, 2017.

The injunction, which came into force in 2015, prohibits people from taking part in a car cruise anywhere within the four Black Country boroughs – Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton – or from promoting, organising or publicising such an event.

Kendrick and Roden appeared before His Honour Judge McKenna, sitting as a High Court judge at Birmingham District Registry, on Thursday (1 June, 2017).

The court heard that West Midlands Police had intercepted a post on the Pouts and Pistons Facebook page hosted by Kendrick and Roden on 19 April which invited people to a gathering the following Sunday evening at Tesco, Burnt Tree Island – a known car cruising hotspot.

The planned meeting quickly gained a large following, with over 80 individuals confirming they were going or were interested in attending.

Officers from the City of Wolverhampton Council's anti-social behaviour team visited Kendrick and Roden to advise them they were in breach of the High Court injunction and request they cancel the event. They were also warned that police would monitor the venue of the planned gathering and take committal proceedings against anyone found to be involved in car cruising.

The Court heard that Kendrick quickly removed the posts about the event from Facebook, and Roden contacted those who were planning to attend to inform them that the event was cancelled.

As a result, the gathering did not go ahead, though the court heard that a large amount of resources from West Midlands Police and the Central Motorway Policing Group had to be diverted to the area nonetheless.

His Honour Judge McKenna said: "Having posted and organised such an event, significant police resources had to be deployed to the Burnt Tree Island area on the evening of 23 April, resources that could have been more usefully used elsewhere throughout the West Midlands.

"Car cruising is extremely dangerous, and dangerous to those foolish enough to attend such events. Breaches of High Court orders are serious."

Judge McKenna described Kendrick and Roden as "naive", and said he was sure they "will not repeat such foolishness". He said credit was given to both defendants for admitting their breaches at the earliest opportunity, for recognising at an early stage their serious error of judgement and for taking steps to prevent the car cruise from going ahead.

Kendrick and Roden were each fined £1,000, ordered to pay the City of Wolverhampton Council costs of £500 and warned that any further breach of the injunction would likely result in custodial sentences.

The injunction was secured by the four Black Country councils and West Midlands Police in February 2015 to tackle the menace of car cruising, which was blighting the lives of residents and having a detrimental impact on businesses throughout the region. And it had an immediate impact, with a significant reduction in car cruising reported across the Black Country, and the problem being eliminated altogether in parts of the region.

For more information, please visit Incidents of car cruising should be reported to West Midlands Police on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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