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Height of stupidity - cars seized, two arrested as Coast hoons run amok

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A man sitting on the roof of a car while the driver did high-speed burnouts was among a raft of people arrested and fined during another police anti-hooning blitz during the long weekend at the Gold Coast.

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Gold Coast Acting Chief Superintendent Geoff Sheldon said the crackdown was the fourth consecutive week of the operation to combat the mass hoon gatherings, with participants displaying “yet another higher level of stupidity.”

Sheldon said police seized five cars and arrested two people for dangerous driving during the Anzac Day long weekend.

“One related to driving and doing burnouts while a bloke was sitting on the roof. So, it doesn’t take Einstein to work out that that’s going to very easily turn tragic if he’s flicked off the roof,” Sheldon said.

“The driver got arrested for dangerous driving and the person sitting on the roof found himself ticketed for traffic offences as well.”

Sheldon said the hoon events were organised on social media as well as often broadcast on social platforms.

“It’s social media events where they all get together and do burnouts and we come along and seize their cars and give them tickets,” he said.

“We do it week in, week out. We’ve got plenty of tickets, plenty to go round, keep coming.

“We’re trying to get a message through but it’s not going to really be accepted I don’t think – they just keep doing it and we keep fielding a team.”

Sheldon said there was as drop-off in numbers from a high of 600 cars and 1000 people at a major gathering a few weeks ago.

“Now we’ve got considerably less than that. We’ve got a large number of their cars sitting in holding yards across the Gold Coast having been seized for hooning offences.”

Prior to this weekend, anti-hooning operation Tango Vinyl on the Gold Coast had seen 201 infringement notices issued, 12 charges for serious offences and nine vehicles impounded since March.

It included a sting earlier this month where police dished out 79 fines and charged four people with drink or drug driving, and seized six cars at a mass hoon gathering on the northern Gold Coast.

The police sting came just days after police were pelted with glass bottles and fireworks were shot at the PolAir helicopter during another hooning meet up.

But new anti-hoon powers passed in State Parliament last week and to roll out next month mean police should be able to target even more drivers taking part in the illegal mass hoon gatherings.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said amendments to the legislation were a “game-changer” for police and would turn the table on hoons.

“As a result of these new laws, police are now equipped with powers which will enable them to serve notices on the owner of a vehicle involved in hooning offences,” Ryan said.

“This means if the owner of a vehicle claims they weren’t driving at the time of the offence, it will be up to them to prove it.”

Sheldon said the legislation meant the registered owners could be prosecuted.

“The best example of how it will work combatting hoons in Queensland is, say we might hear that there’s a group of 100 cars doing burnouts.  And when we get there, it’s like cockroaches and they just scatter,” he said.

“We might be able to grab two cars and take action against them. But if we’ve been able to film other cars doing burnouts and other hooning activities, the registered owner is  deemed to have been responsible for the offence.

“It means mum and dad might find out that sonny boy has been using the car inappropriately on the weekend and some backdated parental control might occur and that might just save a life for us.

“We’re looking forward to being able to take action against the registered owner of the car. Upon being confronted with this, the registered owner has compulsion to declare who had the car at the time, or they will find themselves prosecuted.”

Ryan said road policing units across Queensland also had high-tech camera technology along with the traffic monitoring CCTV network to target mass hoon gatherings.

“Police are already capturing hooning incidents on new high-quality cameras and meticulously reviewing the footage to identify drivers involved and take strong enforcement action,” he said.

“The new laws are a game-changer for police, providing greater flexibility for officers to go after each and every vehicle taking part in illegal hoon events.

“Offenders will no longer be able to avoid prosecution by simply masking their identities and denying they had been behind the wheel.”

 

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