Belfast Telegraph

Warning lives are at risk on cross-border back roads

By Donna Deeney

Car thieves in Londonderry are using back roads as race tracks as they speed recklessly towards the border to escape the PSNI, it has been claimed.

Residents in the Ballyarnett area have been plagued by 'death drivers' in cheap or stolen cars and fear someone will be killed.

In recent days people have reported an increase in the number of cars being driven dangerously at high speed along the city's back roads, day and night.

Earlier this year an elderly couple suffered broken bones and chest injuries after their car was hit head-on by a stolen vehicle with three youths inside, along a back road behind the Creggan area of Derry.

Sinn Fein councillor Sandra Duffy, who has raised the matter with the PSNI, said a joint operation with the Garda is needed.

"One of the biggest problems for the police is the ease at which these death drivers can cross into Donegal from any of the dozens of back roads so it makes sense for a joint operation between the PSNI and Guards," she said.

"People use these back roads every day to reduce time spent in traffic congestion and because it is a convenient way to get to Donegal but it is nothing short of a miracle that there hasn't been a tragedy.

"Local residents have been in contact with me over the past few weeks very concerned about the increase in this activity. They have told me that they have experienced many of these death drivers at first hand, with one young mother who was taking her two children to school left terrified after she was nearly run off the road early in the morning."

Mrs Duffy said that while some of the cars being driven recklessly have been stolen, others have been bought cheaply for the sole purpose of 'death driving'.

She added: "These vehicles are not taxed or insured and the drivers have no regard for other road users never mind their own safety.

"We have previously seen tragic accidents on these dangerous roads and I would appeal to the drivers of these vehicles to stop."

PSNI Inspector William Calderwood said: "Death driving, whether in stolen cars or in uninsured, unregistered cars is a blight on the local community. The individuals driving these cars offer nothing but destruction and potential injury or death of themselves or an innocent person unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I would also remind anyone selling a cheap used car to seriously consider their personal responsibilities. I can understand how tempting it may be to sell a cheap old car for cash, but people really need to consider the consequences of doing so."

Belfast Telegraph

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