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Cape Town - A Cape Town teenager too young to hold a driving licence has been arrested for inadvertently drag-racing against an undercover police officer.

City traffic services held a number of operations to clamp down on illegal drag-racing in recent weeks and this past weekend “saturated Ottery in what turned out to be the biggest and most successful operation thus far”, the city reported.

Among its coups was the arrest of a 16-year-old from Crawford, Athlone, who had taken his brother’s car without permission and decided to race against a Volkswagen Golf on Klipfontein Road.

The VW in question was in fact a Golf 6 GTi, an unmarked vehicle used by the traffic department.

“Unfortunately for the teenager, the driver of the VW was a ghost squad officer and he was arrested on charges of reckless and negligent driving,” the city reported.

The city’s Richard Bosman reported: “He was driving a Nissan Sabre with occupants in it, also aged 16.

“He pulled up next to us, in our white unmarked GTI, at the robots and revved his car – signalling a race – and wheel-spun away from the robot.

“We went after him, activated the blue lights and siren and he tried to drive away, but eventually stopped” – the Nissan was no match for the powerful 155KW cop GTi.

The brother of the 16-year-old later came to Athlone police station and confirmed the car had been taken without permission.

The ghost squad also arrested two motorists on charges of reckless and negligent driving on Old Strandfontein Road.

“Officers blocked off the Strandfontein service road and checked the more than 300 vehicles that had gathered for the evening for roadworthiness, while all drivers were checked for outstanding fines and warrants. Two drivers were arrested for a total of seven outstanding warrants. Officers also issued 133 fines for various other offences,” the city reported.

“A further two arrests were made for drunk driving when motorists caught in the tailback on Old Strandfontein Road made illegal U-turns over the grass verge to escape the roadblock. A few hours later, officers arrested more drivers for reckless and negligent driving who were caught racing on Old Strandfontein Road between Klip Road and Fifth Avenue.”

Officers returned to Ottery on Sunday night and found a smaller crowd. They arrested another motorist.

“In another operation in Sea Point on Sunday, officers arrested a driver for fraud after discovering that he was driving a vehicle with a licence registered to a caravan. They also issued 1 278 fines for various offences including failure to wear safety belts, unlicensed drivers and lack of number plates,” the city reported.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said: “Illegal drag-racing continues to be one of our biggest challenges in terms of road safety. Motorists who have no regard for their own safety continue to terrorise law-abiding road users, placing their lives at risk and, frankly, this must stop. The hundreds of people who support this so-called sport also need to take a hard look at themselves and their behaviour.

“We have seen the devastating consequences of reckless and negligent driving, yet the trend continues.”

Cape Town traffic services also held a number of roadblocks over the weekend, resulting in 53 arrests:

* 15 suspects were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Ravensmead.

* 13 drunk-driving arrests were made in Lwandle, as well as one arrest for possession of a false driver’s licence and 23 fines for various other offences.

* 20 arrests for driving under the influence were made in Langa.

* Officers arrested five drunk drivers in blitzes in Nyanga, Philippi East and Gugulethu.

Cape Argus