POLICE believe three arrests on the Mornington Peninsula are integral to their success in putting the brakes on two groups of hoon drivers that regularly hold street drag meetings in Melbourne’s south east.
An 18-year-old Somerville man is among nine arrested in the past week by detectives targeting hoon behaviour in Melbourne’s south-east.
Yesterday, Monday, police arrested and charged a Mornington man, 23, who they describe as “a ringleader” of the South-East Skids.
He has been charged with six counts of reckless conduct endangering serious injury, and other hoon and traffic-related offences.
A 21 year old Mt Martha man was charged with reckless conduct endangering serious injury, driving in a manner dangerous, failing to have proper control of a vehicle, driving in a manner so as to cause loss of traction and driving in manner to cause unnecessary noise and smoke.
Police say they have now arrested 42 people and seized 21 cars since Operation Regarder began in November.
On Friday police executed search warrants and seized three cars with Inspector Michael Daly saying police had “effectively shut down the South East Skids and Northern Skids hoon groups”.
Crowds of 300-400 people regularly view the events in factory zones, especially in Dandenong, Lynbrook, and Carrum Downs.
A 21-year-old Greensborough man has been charged with reckless conduct endangering serious injury and possess explosives.
Police will allege the Mt Martha man was driving a utility in a Dandenong hooning event last September which fish-tailed before hitting and injuring a 21-year-old woman spectator.
The arrests come after two people were killed in January when the ute they were travelling in crashed at Keilor East. Police believe they had earlier been at an illegal street race.
Inspector Daly, of Dandenong police, said the results showed the taskforce’s dedication to holding hoon drivers to account.
“If these offenders want to treat their cars as weapons then we will, too. We will seize them and keep them as exhibits as we do with any other weapon,” he said.
“Let us be clear, our focus extends beyond the drivers themselves to the spectators.”
Inspector Daly said spectators should not think they were innocent bystanders.
“You’re encouraging dangerous and even deadly behaviour. We are investigating your involvement and will prosecute you,” he said.
“The arrests (Friday) are not the first and they will not be the last.
“The taskforce is not slowing down. We are widening our remit and looking at other hoon groups. No one associated with hoons is exempt.”
Inspector Daly said the arrests were a culmination of months of covert investigation.
“We are now turning our attention to the Friday night drag scene in and around Melbourne’s south east.”
“Our message to these groups is – as long as you behave in a way that endangers peoples’ lives, you’ll continue to be under the scrutiny of police.”
All those arrested have been bailed to appear at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 11 May.