Four cars have been seized after police were able to successfully identify participants involved in dangerous driving incidents in Canberra last weekend.
Key points:

  • Police said they were caught off guard by the dangerous behaviour last Friday and Saturday
  • Social media videos helped identify the perpetrators, including one who threw a glass bottle at police
  • Vehicles can be seized by police for up to three months

Large crowds gathered to watch illegal driving at least three sites across the city at the weekend, and, at one meet up, a bottle was thrown through the window of a police car in Fyshwick.
Two Holden Commodore sedans involved in burnouts were seized on January 8, and today, a Ford Falcon sedan and a Holden Commodore ute were also seized.
Police were also able to identify the person they allege smashed a window of a police car, and have issued a court summons in relation to the damage.
“The behaviour these drivers displayed showed a total disregard for law and put lives in danger,” Detective Inspector Adrian Craft said.
“Police want to send the message to the drivers that the actions seen last weekend will not be tolerated, and don’t be surprised when police come knocking.”
Crowds gather across Canberra to watch illegal driving.
Detective Inspector Craft said the behaviour over the weekend “caught us a little bit unawares” despite it occurring at the same time as the Summernats event in Sydney.
The event was off-limits for many Canberrans due to COVID-19 travel restrictions affecting the Greater Sydney area.
The annual car festival did not go ahead at its traditional home, EPIC in Canberra, which is still being used as a coronavirus testing facility.
“I’ve heard a lot of excuses for what could have been the trigger point, the potential for that event that was on in Sydney, the absence of a dedicated facility for this sort of behaviour in the ACT, a regulated facility,” Detective Inspector Craft said.
“But I don’t see any rational rhyme or reason behind the behaviour.
“It’s juvenile and it’s dangerous and we’ll stamp on it in the future as well.”
A Holden Commodore was among the vehicles seized by police.(Supplied: ACT Policing)
However Detective Inspector Craft did confirm that police would ramp up their presence in Canberra in March, in light of the cancellation of another smaller-scale Summernats event.
“Given the context behind that [and] a planned Summernats event that people were hoping to attend in March, we would obviously actively discourage people from trying to continue with that sort of behaviour over that weekend,” he said.
“But we’re well aware of it now and will be very much on the lookout for any of that sort of behaviour.”
Social media key to seizures
The seized vehicles, including this Holden utility, could be held by police for three months.(Supplied: ACT Policing)
Police said social media played a large role in identifying the perpetrators, including the person who allegedly threw the beer bottle at police.
“There was a lot of social media footage, and we’re grateful to the public who came forward and identified that offender for us” Detective Inspector Craft confirmed.
“People seem to get quite excited by showing this sort stuff on social media, but it’s arguably turned around and bitten them on this occasion.
“Their willingness to share that information has led to their detection and to their prosecution.
“If they want to continue to be silly enough and put this stuff on social media, they can expect those ramifications on the back end.”
Detective Inspector Craft said that seizing vehicles could act as a deterrent to potential offenders.
“The vehicles can be seized for up to three months,” he said.
“One of the things to do is to get the vehicles off the road. It’s also a way to discourage people from doing this sort of thing, if they know that there’s the potential for their vehicles to be taken off them.
“We’re hoping that people take heed of the message that’s been delivered to them.”
Police said investigations were ongoing as there were “a large number of vehicles involved”.