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Illegal street racing in the Waikato region sparks concerns over unsafe driving behaviours. File Photo: PIXABAY

Baby, children involved in illegal street-racer busts

A baby and children were found in cars during a police operation into illegal street racing throughout Waikato over the weekend, sparking concerns over unsafe driving behaviours.
Hamilton City Area Commander Inspector Will Loughrin said Police issued more than 200 infringement notices and made 12 arrests after more than 1000 anti-social road users blocked roads and exhibited unsafe driving behaviours overnight on December 9.
Police were also investigating two stabbings in Matamata as part of a street racing incident.
“Alarmingly, attending Police found a baby in one of the vehicles driven by a group of teenagers believed to have travelled from out of district,” he said.
As a result, the vehicle was impounded.
In addition to the baby found in the vehicle of teens, many people were in attendance with children.
Inspector Loughrin acknowledged that the community were sick and tired of the behaviour and people who keep putting others at risk.
“We want to send a message to anyone involved in this type of behaviour that Police will work incredibly hard to hold you to account for any illegal activity – either at the time or after the fact.”
Illegal street-racing was not the only offence that officers had to manage, Police said.
To target illegal street-racing offenders, Police set up Operation Shadow to be directed toward the Hamilton City and wider Waikato region.
“There were seven arrests made for excess breath alcohol, two for disorder, one for driving while suspended, one of a breach of home detention, and another had an existing warrant for arrest,” he said.
Around 220 traffic infringements were issued by police, and bystanders who were consuming alcohol in liquor ban areas were given infringement notices. Further to this, three people had their licences suspended.
Pedestrians and vehicles were blocking intersections, and some vehicles had no number plate and people were trying to conceal their identities with balaclavas “hanging out of windows of cars driven at speed”.
“While it was pleasing that the gatherings of people and vehicles dispersed upon Police attendance… their behaviour was incredibly concerning and puts countless people at risk,” he said.
People who were part of the street-racing were involved in a disorder just after 12:30am, which resulted in two stabbings on State Highway 27 in the Matamata area.
Police are further investigating the conditions surrounding the incident, making use of tools such as CCTV, and pulling together information received at the time.
“Police thank everyone who reported concerns to us, and appeal to anyone who has information on illegal or unsafe activity to report this to Police via 105 with as much detail as possible.”