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Cruise Herts club: Who are the car enthusiasts and what happened at the Stevenage motor meeting?

The community of motor enthusiasts at Cruise-Herts have been meeting for 17 years - making it the longest-standing car club in the area. 

Describing itself as a modified car club, drivers descend upon a nominated area and park up. Usually in a car park after the businesses have closed for the day, the car owners will showcase the modifications made to their vehicles. 

From beefing up their engines to bolstering the car's sound systems and from changing the car's shape with a body kit to installing neon lights - the idea is for drivers to be able to display their cars for enthusiasts to admire. 

Those attending events are invited to walk around the cars, buy merchandise, share advice and plan further meet-ups.

But, with adrenaline running, high-powered cars and the lure of likes on social media, Thursday night's event turned rogue. 

Despite organiser Nix Sidhu pleading with participants not to race - the message did not get through. 

He said: "We held the meet in a car park with a speed bump at the entrance. But unfortunately some people went a bit rogue.

"We try and stop that, we urge people - urge them on social media beforehand - not to go out on the roads, not to risk injury or anything.

"But unfortunately, in this age of social media and Snapchat, people want to get footage and post things to their friends, which seems to drive some people to the main road."

Video footage dedicated to the event - but not posted by Cruise-Herts - shows dozens of cars arriving. The roar from the exhausts accentuate the firepower under the bonnets of the modified cars. 

It is daylight when the cars arrive to find their space in the car parks so that fellow enthusiasts can ogle their vehicles. 

But the trouble comes when these cars leave the retail car park and join the dual carriageway. 

It appears to be a crowd-pleaser, with people lining the streets to hear the cars screech back onto the public road, the drivers flexing their vehicle's muscles. 

As the night draws in and cars pile out, the more people can be seen on the grass bank adjacent to the road as well as the central reservation.

A video recorded on June 27 shows a police car parked around 100 yards down the road from the junction. This is the same junction where the two cars collided on Thursday.

Enthusiasts cheer loudly as the cars pull away into the darkness, like sport stars getting a standing ovation leaving the field after a victory. 

As well as the weekly meetings, Cruise-Herts also put on convoys, where drivers would meet at a specific place in Hertfordshire before travelling en masse to a bigger meet.

The most recent was in May, when the fleet travelled to London for the Car Culture UK Final Meet.

Almost 2,000 attended from across the country to display their vehicles at the car park of Pets At Home in Newham. 

But, as video footage from the meet shows, it turned into hundreds of people gathered around cars wheel-spinning and drifting on the tarmac. 

On the evening of June 27, officers were filmed pulling a driver over having flashed the blue lights. 

Mr Sidhu said the event had been running regularly for 17 years, providing a "safe space" for car enthusiasts to meet within a controlled, closed environment.

He added: "We have a liaison officer to pass number plates to police if there is ever any trouble; we try to make it as safe as possible.

"Some people like drinking and that sort of thing, we just like cars. They are our pride and joy, what we are interested in.

"Unfortunately this incident means we are all going to be tarred with the same brush - people will say we are boy racers.

"We are devastated. I've been running this for 10 years and we have never had one incident. We were raising money for charity, as we often do, and there was no speed element to it."

The meetings were well established - offering enthusiasts the chance to buy Cruise-Herts hoodies, banners and stickers. 

They were also raising money for charity and Thursday's event was dedicated to 4Louis, who provide equipment and training free of charge to hospital units, hospices and other professionals who "sadly have the job of comforting grieving families who suffer a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or child death". 

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