POLICE launched dawn raids this morning, including one in Stourbridge, on suspected organisers of illegal car cruising events as part of a crackdown on dangerous street races.

In the first operation of its kind, officers from West Midlands Police targeted homes of those believed to be involved in arranging and promoting the gatherings on social media channels – seizing phones and computers in the hunt for evidence.

Five properties were searched and one man was arrested.

The 21-year-old was held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance at an address in Bartley Green.

A home in Stourbridge, one in Kings Norton and two homes in Handsworth were also searched, with flyers and promotional material for gatherings recovered.

Chief Supt Ian Green, in charge of Operation Hercules which has been set up to tackle the problem, said: “A lot of this is organised through social media, with accounts which have thousands of followers and are joining together to organise these illegal street races.

“This isn’t about us targeting car enthusiasts. These people are illegally racing vehicles at high speeds on our roads and putting people in danger every single time they do it. Not only themselves, but members of the public and it's luck only we haven’t had a mass-fatality in relation to street racing.

“My concern is it’s only a matter of time until that happens so I am going to continue to enforce to make sure that the message gets home that illegal street racing will not be tolerated.”

An injunction already bans car cruising from the streets of Birmingham, while councils in the Black Country have applied for a new injunction to ban it in the Black Country area.

If granted, it would ban people from participating in, attending, promoting, organising or publicising a car cruise.

The High Court is hearing the application on May 13.

People can submit comments and observations regarding car cruising and the application for a new injunction to litigation@wolverhampton.gov.uk by 4pm on Tuesday May 4, 2021.

Comments will be presented to the High Court.