Watch: Sunderland pair caught taking part in 'Fast and the Furious' illegal drag racing

Two Wearside men are facing lengthy driving bans and possible jail terms for their part in illegal drag racing.

Saturday, 6th October 2018, 1:16 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 1:28 pm
Race organiser Damian Rodgers starts one of the races.

Police have labelled their antics like "a scene from the Fast and the Furious" car movie series.

The gang of four included event organiser Damian Rodgers, 39, of Coach Road Estate, Usworth, Washington, and Robert Graham, 36, of Falmouth Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland.

Race organiser Damian Rodgers starts one of the races.

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Dashboard camera footage caught their part in races watched by dozens of spectators on an industrial estate.

The recordings show Rodgers starting races using a firecracker.

But the meet was interrupted by officers from Northumbria Police after a string of noise complaints from nearby residents.Rodgers denied three charges of aiding and abetting dangerous driving at a four-day Newcastle Crown Court trial this week.

He was found guilty by a jury of three counts of the lesser offence of aiding and abetting careless driving.Graham and Garry Kelly, 24, of West Terrace, Choppington, Northumberland, both denied dangerous driving and were found guilty on a lesser charge of careless driving.

David Burdis, 28, of Bensham Crescent, Bensham, Gateshead, was found guilty of dangerous driving, driving without insurance, driving without a licence and driving while disqualified after denying the charges.

All four will return to court to be sentenced at a later date.

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."