TWO South Tyneside men have been banned from the roads after a police crackdown on dangerous drivers.
The pair were among seven convicted after videos were posted on YouTube showing people racing and driving dangerously on a Tyneside road.
The video clips were studied by police, who later charged them with various offences, including racing on a public highway and dangerous driving, as part of the force’s Operation Dragoon road safety campaign.
Michael Lister, 22, of Longfield Close, South Shields, was charged with racing on a public highway. He pleaded guilty and was disqualified from driving for 16 months and fined £100.
Craig Thompson, 26, of Beacon Glade, South Shields, was charged with dangerous driving. He pleaded guilty and was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
He was disqualified for 15 months and will have to do an extended test to get his licence back. Thompson was also given 40 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £85.
Both men were dealt with at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court earlier this year.
The YouTube footage was taken around Kingfisher Boulevard in Newburn, Newcastle. Six of the seven men identified from it were banned from the roads.
Temporary Chief Inspector John Heckel, said: “The footage showed a number of reckless drivers treating the public roads like a racing track.
“It showed people speeding and racing while other drivers go about their normal journeys and pedestrians are crossing the road.
“Their actions are extremely dangerous. They are putting pedestrians’ and innocent road users’ lives at risk, and this behaviour will not be tolerated.
“Operation Dragoon was launched to identify and take action against dangerous drivers. Once we were made aware of the videos we took action. Now, as a result, six dangerous drivers are no longer on the roads.
“As well as the dangerous driving aspect this case also highlighted to us issues around drivers and their insurance policies.
“We are finding more and more that people are not informing their insurance companies about modifications made to their vehicles.
“In this instance, three of the seven drivers had failed to disclose modifications to their insurance companies.
“One of the men had told his insurance company his Vauxhall Nova had a 1.2 engine when, in fact, it had a 2-litre engine in it.
“This is extremely dangerous. It is a criminal offence and it also voids insurance policies – meaning that any claims made could be rejected and that you would receive no money for your car, should you try and claim on its insurance.”