This is the face of Sunderland illegal drag race organiser

This is the face of the organiser of an illegal drag racing night stopped by the police.

Monday, 8th October 2018, 4:24 pm
Updated Monday, 8th October 2018, 4:28 pm
Drag race starter Damian Rodgers, inset, begins the illegal contest.

Damian Rodgers,39, of Coach Road, Usworth, Washington, was caught on dashboard cameras starting the event with a firecracker.

He will return to Newcastle Crown Court soon to be sentenced after a jury last week convicted him of three offences of aiding and abetting careless driving.

Drag race starter Damian Rodgers, inset, begins the illegal contest.

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Robert Graham, 36, of Falmouth Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland, will also learn his fate after he was found guilty of careless driving at the trial.

Two other men, from Choppington, Northumberland, and Bensham, Gateshead, will also be sentenced at the same hearing after they were convicted of their part in what police said was like "a scene from Fast and the Furious" car movie series.

All four are now facing lengthy driving bans and possible prison sentences.

The incident took place at Nelson Industrial Estate, in Cramlington, Northumberland, on October 28 last year.

Sergeant Matt Sykes, of Northumbria Police, has now warned there will be serious consequences for anyone who uses the streets as a race track.

He said: "It is not illegal to have a passion for cars but what these men were doing that night was illegal and put innocent members of the public at risk.

"If they wanted to see how fast they can drive their car then they should go to a track day and not an industrial estate in Cramlington.

"Our public highways are not racing circuits and it this exact type of behaviour that can lead to people dying on the roads.

"The worst part of my job is having to visit the family of those victims and it drivers like those in court today who are responsible.

"What I find hard to comprehend is that these men have never accepted that their driving that night was dangerous.

"Despite the overwhelming evidence caught on one of their own dashboard cameras they took their case to trial.

"It came as no surprise to me that the jury saw through their lies and they are now set to be taken off our roads for the foreseeable future."