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Millionaire Arab racers clash with London residents

Published: Updated:
Residents in London’s affluent Knightsbridge area are voicing their frustration with young men from the Gulf States who arrive each summer to drive their premium cars recklessly around the capital’s streets.

Bugattis, Ferraris and Lamborghinis are just a few of the big brand names on show in the vicinity of the famous Harrods department store, reported the Telegraph on Wednesday.

Locals have complained to the Metropolitan Police, claiming they are not doing enough to curb the bad driving habits of these young men, habits which include deliberately sliding their cars around tight corners.

A documentary addressing the subject is set to air on England’s Channel 4, it charts the rising tensions between Arabs escaping the intense heat of Gulf summers and local residents who do not appreciate the increase in traffic.

Downes told the documentary: “I’ve seen the area move from being a very quiet, residential area to being cosmopolitan in a way which is rather extreme.”

Fellow local resident Panda Morgan-Thomas said it is near impossible to sleep due to the sound of high powered vehicles.

“There has been a lot of sports car racing. I'm inundated with local residents complaining, not being able to sleep and I think people’s tempers are getting somewhat jaded,” she added.

Downes expressed his disapproval of what he termed the double standards of the local police, “they come into the area around Harrods to show off their cars and drive recklessly in a way that if you were a UK citizen you would be prosecuted for dangerous driving,” he said.

The police have retorted by insisting that they have seized dozens of foreign-owned supercars for a variety of alleged offences including driving without a valid insurance.

Those who are accused of taking part in races claim that local residents have never communicated their dissatisfaction personally.

Abdul Aziz Rashid who comes to the UK every year said: “I hear the residents always complain but they don't come to me to complain. If anyone complains about something I will respect it and try to fix it.”

“We are foreigners here and we just come to have a good time and we always want to come here and not cause trouble or problems. If anybody speaks to me and asks me not to do something then I will not do it,” he explained.