Police hit rat run drivers with fines
5:30am Friday 11th April 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
POLICE are hitting crooked motorists in the wallet for flouting the one-way system in Eastcott and putting fellow drivers, pedestrians and other vehicles in danger.
Swindon Council closed Crombey Street between Regent Circus and Eastcott Hill on Monday, March 24, as a part of the ongoing development of the former Swindon College site.
As a result, it is diverting traffic south along Victoria Road up to Bath Road, before sending it north down Eastcott Road to rejoin Crombey Street.
In an attempt to cut journey times, drivers have been breaking the law and driving against oncoming traffic by turning right from Cross Street into Rolleston Street and Edmund Street.
Wiltshire Police’s Swindon Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team has responded to calls from residents in the area to address the problem and issued four fixed penalty notices amounting to £50 apiece on Wednesday.
PC Paul Bezzant said: “We have patrols as part of our team at key times to provide a visible presence to deter the drivers.
“We had a period of stopping them and trying to educate them, but we have now moved on to enforcement.
“When we stop the motorists we educate them, issue the ticket and check the vehicle over, as we usually do, to ensure it is road safe and road legal.
“We will continue to police this area until the problem stops.”
The closure in Crombey Street will be lifted on May 9, though police hope motorists will learn this illegal cut-through is the wrong choice to make long before then.
A variety of excuses have been offered up to police pulling them over, though the majority are simply playing dumb, despite the large road markings and road signs telling drivers the way to go.
“Human beings try to be lazy, they try to take the shortest or easiest route possible and this is another example of that,” said PC Bezzant.
“It is quite clear, as you approach the junction at the end of Cross Street, there are markings on the street and big signs showing drivers which way to go – it is just laziness.
“They always try to find excuses. It’s been a mixture of holding their hands up and trying to tell us they honestly didn’t notice the signs. “A lot of the time, as you’re writing out the fines, they have got nothing to say.”
A meeting was held after the Adver went to press last night with the council, residents and the police coming together to discuss the current, official diversion and what might be done to appease drivers and reduce the number of motorists flouting the system.
“In reality there’s very little that can be done,” said PC Bezzant. “It’s a short-term inconvenience for a long-term gain at Regent Circus.
“It’s one of those things that affects us all from time to time.”
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