Northern Ireland

Armoy residents' misery at actions of boy racers

So-called boy racers are causing havoc in the County Antrim village of Armoy close to Ballycastle.

They have been doing handbrake turns at junctions and right outside residents' front doors for the past several years.

Local residents fear someone will be killed or injured unless they stop.

The police say they are tackling the problem and are trying to educate young people about the dangers of "donuting".

Bernard Sparkes is one resident who is close to the end of his tether.

For many months he has had to put up with screeching tyres and burning rubber outside his home in Armoy.

He says his life is being made a misery by speeding drivers doing handbrake turns and "donuts" at a junction close to his house.

"They will spin the car round and round and round in the junction four, five times creating a huge screeching noise, burning rubber," he added.

"I really don't know how they can afford to keep replacing the tyres on the cars.

"I'm positive that somebody at some point is going to be killed.

"They just have no regard for safety, oncoming drivers, pedestrians, anything at all.

"From one o'clock in the afternoon, but mainly at night, you'll be woken up through the night.

"It's like having a new born baby in the house again and you're getting disturbed sleep patterns.

"We have two autistic children and it really throws them. If they've not had a good nights sleep then we suffer the next day."

"Donuting" is popular along the busy Drones Road.

On dry days you can see circles of tyre marks on the tarmac.

Willie Graham is a councillor for the area and chair of Moyle District Policing Partnership.

"There has been a big problem here in Armoy for the past several years with boy racers and it has got completely out of hand," he said.

"I myself have come across people donuting and unfortunately, in the drier weather they go away in a cloud of dust and you can't get to find the full registration number or anything."

The police say they are clamping down on the problem.

Image caption Insp Bryan Hume said the PSNI was attempting to educate young drivers

Recently, they stopped it happening in a particular area of Ballycastle by installing speed ramps and they have arrested drivers caught trying to do donuts in the middle of roads or junctions.

Mobile phones

Insp Bryan Hume, from Ballycastle PSNI station, said they were also attempting to educate young drivers by holding "Top Gear" type events to show them how modifying a car and driving erratically could put them at risk.

But he said as it is a rural area, they need residents to help them bring more prosecutions against those who are acting irresponsibly on the road.

"Unfortunately, whenever we arrive in towns like Armoy, immediately everybody stops doing what they are doing," he said.

"We have the problem of mobile phones and the message gets about that the police are operating in that area.

"But we try to work with the community and we would ask the community to phone us and to give us registration numbers and by identifying drivers who are doing this and to give us statements.

"We are willing to take a case to court with a statement from a member of the public because this is dangerous both to the people who are driving the cars - because they are out of control when they are donuting - but also to residents in that area.

"If a pedestrian was there and that car loses control we will definitely have people very severely injured or, unfortunately, killed."