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Supercars seized in Knightsbridge crackdown

High-performance cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds were seized and drivers were fined during a police crackdown on boy racers in Knightsbridge.

Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsches, BMWs and a Bugatti Veyron were pulled over for spot-checks last night. Alleged offences included driving without insurance, or having windows that were too heavily tinted.

Residents say they are kept awake by the noise of cars, mostly owned by young Middle Eastern men, being raced into the early hours, and claim pedestrians are being put at risk.

Many of the drivers, thought to include members of the Qatari royal family, come to the UK to escape the hot weather at home in the weeks before Ramadan, which falls next month.

Car enthusiasts turn up regularly to watch and video the supercars. Last night's operation in Basil Street, near Harrods, saw the seizure of a new Bentley, thought to be worth £200,000, and a black soft-top Ferrari.

The Ferrari driver was arrested, allegedly for breaking a court order banning him from driving.

The Bentley was towed away after its driver allegedly failed to provide insurance documents, and the owner of a BMW was warned for having over-tinted windows.

Three £60 fixed-penalty notices were issued for incorrect number plates and a fourth was handed out for driving the wrong way in a one-way street. A similar operation last week saw two cars towed away.

Madeline Elsdon, who chairs the Knightsbridge Association's law and order committee, said: "We welcome Middle Eastern drivers to Knightsbridge to enjoy the atmosphere and freedom we offer. But perhaps the drivers of these high-performance cars are unaware that Knightsbridge has 4,000 residents, including many children.

"In certain streets, people are unable to sleep for weeks every summer due to the noise from high-performance vehicles cruising the streets until the early hours."

A growing number of car-spotters gather around Basil Street on summer evenings. Some try to make money by posting their videos of the cars on the internet, though films showing illegal driving, such as power slides, have been removed recently.

One car-spotter, who did not want to be named, said the number of cars involved has fallen: "Two cars got impounded last year and from that lots of drivers got told to slow down. They have never had these problems in their own countries.

"Next year they might go to Paris and let it cool down here and then the following year come back to London."

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