MP criticises police over handing of illegal car meet in Denton

MP ANDREW Gwynne has made a scathing attack on the police handling of the illegal car meet which caused mayhem in Denton on Sunday, July 19.

In a letter to Ian Hopkins, Greater Manchester Police’s chief constable, the MP for Denton and Reddish said: “GMP must now be in line for the most inept police force in the country and the people of Denton would be better paying a precept to the Keystone Cops.”

MP Andrew Gwynne

Mr Gwynne also copied Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor for Police Bev Hughes into the message.

He wrote: “There was chaos in my constituency when a huge car meet caused massive disruption in Denton.

“The event, which had been advertised on social media, drew hundreds of people and vehicles to JDK Autoworx on the Windmill Lane Business Park causing gridlock in the town and led to the closure of the M60 anti-clockwise at junction 24.

“There were instances of dangerous driving, people ‘rioting’ and significant noise disruption and I have a number of urgent questions that I and my constituents need answers to.

“The rally started in Telford and, given that the route and address of the meet were advertised, I want to know urgently why police intelligence didn’t pick this event up?

“I understand that you have a unit looking into illegal events such as this and I want to know what the police knew about this and when?

“There have also been posts since bragging about the event and the disruption caused and I’ve attached some screenshots illustrating this.

“I want to know why the convoy from Telford wasn’t stopped before it got to Denton?

“The crowds were gathering in very close proximity and people had travelled together in vehicles. I want to know how many fixed penalty notices for not social distancing were issued and how many arrests were made and, if the answer to that is none, I want to know why not?

“Does JDK Autoworx have any track and trace information for the hundreds of people from all over the UK who attended? Were any vehicles confiscated and, if not, why not?

“Please can you confirm what action is being taken against JDK Autoworx? They promoted this event and I want to know if they will be prosecuted.

“I am deeply unhappy about what happened, and the local community think that the police actually aided and abetted this event by allowing it to go on until 10.30pm.

“GMP must now be in line for the most-inept police force in the country and the people of Denton would be better paying a precept to the Keystone Cops.”

The illegal car meet in Denton

Mr Gwynne added Bev Hughes responded very swiftly, also on behalf of Mr Burnham, and he appreciated her apology and understanding about the situation.

He has also spoken to the chief constable this week while the divisional commander Supt Jane Higham has also sent a reply to his complaints.

A spokesperson for GMP said: “The chief won’t be responding publicly to this; instead I direct you to our press release on Monday and the comments made by our divisional commander Supt Jane Higham who also has since directly replied to Mr Gwynne.”

The press release confirmed on Thursday, July 23, a 25-year-old man was interviewed by police officers after voluntarily attending an interview at a police station in Hyde. A representative from Tameside Council’s Environmental Health team was also present at the interview.

The man continues to be under investigation.

Superintendent Jane Higham, of GMP’s Tameside district, said: “We continue to recognise the level of upset and dissatisfaction within the local community after the events of Sunday, July 19.

“The scenes posted on social media were not acceptable and we are absolutely committed to piecing together the full circumstances of this event.

“We hope that the news that a man has been interviewed by police officers reinforces our commitment and demonstrates that we are still actively investigating, alongside our partners at the local authority.

“It’s important to stress that enquiries into last Sunday’s event are very much ongoing and we will pursue anyone found to have committed an offence. This type of behaviour is reckless and puts our communities at risk.

“Here in Tameside we will also continue to explore all measures available to us, with a view to preventing any similar events occurring in the future.

By the same token, we would urge the public to please reach out to us if they have any intelligence that could help us gather a wider picture and stop the coordination and organisation of such illegal events taking place in the next few weeks or months.

“Thanks to similar intelligence, we were able to stop an illegal rave happening in the area last weekend – which just goes to show how important the support and help of the public is.”

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 quoting incident number 1748 of 19/07/2020. Details can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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