Cops in Surrey had to close a motorway service area last night after thousands of car enthusiasts descended on its car park, creating a dangerous backlog onto the M25.
The Surviving the Nightlife event is a regular car meet, described as “a great event for the local car scene, bringing multiple clubs together.”
Sunday’s gathering was the first of the year, with more than 3,000 cars believed to have turned up at Cobham Services.
Queues along the M25 reportedly backed up for more than three miles, with police issuing a statement warning visitors to stay away from the area as they wouldn’t be able to enter the services.
Police said: “The vehicles, predominately cars, are believed to be involved in a gathering advertised on social media. This resulted in the car park reaching full capacity and is currently having a knock-on effect on traffic using the M25 in both directions.
“Surrey Police and the organisers of the event are strongly advising anyone intending on joining the gathering that they will not be able to do so and to make alternative plans. Other motorists inconvenienced by the closure of the service station and the subsequent traffic delays are thanked for their patience.”
— Stuart Scarry (@Torquepen) February 21, 2016
Gareth Field, who is believed to have been involved in organising the event, posted on Facebook: “If you haven’t heard by now, police shut the entrance to the event due to over crowding. Despite our best efforts they wouldn’t re-open it and such a lot of people got turned away, for that we as a club apologies. We were overwhelmed by all the cars turning up and even with a 3000 limit car park we still managed to fill it.”
He added: “Best M25 traffic jam many have ever seen!”
Cars at the event, which is believed to have been organised with permission from the police, ranged from retro Volvos to modified Nissan GT-Rs.
One angry Facebook commenter, Karl Dewey, said: “[It] was absolutely stupid that traffic… all that just for people to show off their done-up cars. What about people needing a break or a wee or even HGV drivers running out of driving time? Stuck in that traffic. Didn’t think of them when arranging that car meet…”