FOR the second weekend in a row residents have complained about car meets despite automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) being installed as a deterrent.

As previously reported an online petition started by resident Mark Burrows last year stated that the carpark of Sainsbury’s in Wallop Drive, Basingstoke has become an increasingly popular late-night meeting place for car enthusiasts.

Mark said that on an “almost nightly occurrence” at around 9.30pm residents in the area are bothered by “intense engine revving” until midnight.

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Following the petition, which managed to gain over 200 signatures, a temporary mobile ANPR was installed, which will now be made permanent.

Since then residents took to social media to complain about another car meet in the carpark, and racing on surrounding roads on Saturday, February 26.

County Cllr Stephen Reid, who supported the petition contacted facility management company Mitie and was told the equipment had been “damaged” and was not in operation at the time the car meet was reported.

He was also told by Sainsbury's that the camera was in operation.

Following on from the incident Cllr Reid has told the Gazette another car meet was also reported last weekend (March 5).

He said: “This one appears to have been nipped in the bud: local residents reported it immediately and they believe that police attended quickly.

“I have been told by Mitie, Sainsbury's agents, that the automatic number plate recognition equipment in the car park had been damaged and was not operational on the night of the first meet. I have also been told by Sainsbury's themselves that the ANPR was indeed operational, in which case the car meet attendees could receive fines for overstaying the 10-minute limitation that exists after the store closes.

"I will continue to seek a definitive statement on what the situation was. The positive news is that Mitie intends to install a permanent ANPR system in the next financial year that is less prone to be being vandalised.”

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A spokesperson from Hampshire Police, said: "We were called at 9.30pm on Saturday 5 March to a report of a car meet in Bell Road, Basingstoke.

"Officers attended and restricted access to the road and those attending then started to disperse.

"We then received further reports of a car meet at around 9.50pm that night at the Sainsbury’s car park in Wallop Drive, Basingstoke. Again, officers attended, restricted access to the car park and those attending dispersed."

He hopes that other physical measures will be considered to provide a stronger deterrent to stop the "inconsiderate" incidents including visible barriers.

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