Dangerous drivers and bikers could face jail for stunts and high-speed cruising after the High Court backed a council bid to stop an illegal road race.

A senior judge today approved an application for a three-year injunction that will give police beefed-up powers to stop the event, known as the Croydon Cruise.

Croydon Council took legal action to clamp down on cruising in the Imperial Way industrial estate following the death of a motorcyclist in July and a collision in April that left a 21-year-old pedestrian on a life-support machine.

It also follows complaints about noise and dangerous driving from Waddon councillors, local businesses and families who live close to the estate.

As many as 500 souped-up cars, motorbikes and quad bikes are thought to take part in the cruise, which usually takes place each Friday night.

Drivers and bikers speed along streets, performing wheelies and doughnut turns, while drag races along a half-mile strip of road are sometimes watched by hundreds of spectators, some revving engines and playing music on sound systems.

Police have found it hard to catch those who take part because many remove their licence plates.

Some discard their helmets when police give chase, meaning it is too dangerous for officers to pursue them.

The council has previously attempted to stop the cruise with little success, but stepped up efforts after 27-year-old Carl Simpson was killed by a crash with another biker, who also suffered serious head injuries, on July 10.

Mr Simpson, who was due to become father, had been performing bike stunts in Imperial Way, where pronounced dead in the road following the collision.

Granting the injunction, deputy High Court judge Karen Steyn QC said: "The claimant has made a case. Racing and stunt riding is dangerous for those actively involved in it, for those watching it, and those passing by. 

"Car cruising also causes serious public disquiet.”

The injunction bans any activity that creates danger, nuisance, excessive noise or risk of damage in Imperial Way or nearby Pegasus Road and Lysander Road.

It means anyone who takes part in the Croydon Cruise in future faces an unlimited fine and can be jailed for up to two years.

Councillor Stuart King, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “These cruises are dangerous for everyone who uses our roads, so I’m glad the High Court has approved our injunction to make it easier for the police to take action.

“This injunction and the traffic-calming road humps we’ve been installing this week underline how this council is determined to make these roads safer for everyone who uses them.”