Supermarket customers in London Colney leave early after drifter event in car park

Drifter event at Colney Fields Retail Park

Drifter event at Colney Fields Retail Park - Credit: Archant

The arrival of a large number of souped-up vehicles in its car park forced a local supermarket to close early last weekend.

Sainsburys at Colney Fields shopping centre in London Colney closed early last Saturday (18) and asked customers to leave the store when around 50 vehicles turned up outside the supermarket at around 7.30pm.

Police were quickly on the scene, perhaps fearing a repeat on an incident in July 2012 when a so-called ‘drifter’ event was held in the Sainsbury’s car park and as many as 1,000 people in cars revved their engines, spun their wheels and played loud bass music.

With drink flowing freely, local residents took it upon themselves to contact the district council’s environmmental health team who persuaded both Sainsbury’s and its petrol station to close, restricting access to any more alcohol.

Shortly after that incident, Colney Fields introduced an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANP, partly to prevent such a gathering happening again.

London Colney district councillor Jacob Quagliozzi who was in Sainsbury’s at the time the store was evacuated on Saturday said that the vehicles were driving relatively quickly around the car park which has a speed limit of 10mph because of the number of pedestrians who use it.

He said Sainsbury’s had made a Tannoy announcement that they would be closing the store immediately which had caused some panic. But staff had calmly directed everyone out and explained that cars were turning up to race and it would be a good thing if they left.

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Jacob described the arrival of the vehicles as anti-social because of the number of people turning up to do their shopping and added: “It was rather like the Harpenden classic car event for 20+ kids from Essex.”

In a statement, police said that they had found around 50 cars in the car park but there had been no evidence of cars racing or incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Although they did not stay there the whole evening, police kept up high visibility patrols until all the vehicles had left the site by around 10.15pm.