A “MINDLESS FOOL” who filmed himself driving through floodwaters on Canvey, deliberately splashing people, has been handed a police caution.
Outraged residents called police after a clip of the man brazenly driving his 4x4 through the submerged streets appeared on YouTube and Facebook.
The video showed the driver causing waves nearly as high as his car, as devastated residents were trying to deal with flood damage to their homes after two months worth of rain fell in 90 minutes.
Sgt Mark McQuade, from Canvey police station, said: “Residents were livid and rightly so because there were a lot of people who were distressed at being flooded.
“A lot were sticking together in an act of community spirit helping each other and there was a mindless fool splashing people.
“Justice has been served in terms of this chap.”
After a Facebook group was set up to find the person responsible police tracked down the owner of the vehicle – a 31-yearold man from Grays.
The man, who has relatives on Canvey, handed himself in at Canvey police station and admitted the offence.
Sgt McQuade added: “He made full admission and albeit he found it comical, he realised that it was stupid.
“It was an adolescent act of bravado in front of his partner.
“It was horrible thing and something the community identified as a nasty incident during the flood. In terms of driving it was low down on the level of offence. He was splashing people rather than getting on the pavements and crashing into people.
“It has taken its time, but the stance Essex Police takes is that if this were to happen again, or someone drives below the level expected, the police will deal with them positively.
“If you get points on your licence your insurance will go through the roof. You are looking at a normal £500 a year premium, going to £1,000.
“The ramifications are not just that you are put in front of magistrates and given points. And it’s just for a few seconds of bravado.”
Anger from flooded homeowners
UPSET residents who lost their possessions and saw their homes damaged in the floods criticised the driver’s actions.
Pru Beaumont, 72, of Beverley Avenue had her home flooded in July.
She said: “There were quite a few doing it, I suppose he was just unlucky and just got caught. If he has been pulled up by the police and been given fair warning and made to go on a driving course I think really it might hit home.
“I don’t think he should be taken to court, but he should be severely reprimanded.”
Filmmaker Joe Mander, 17, whose short video collating flood scenes from the island was shown this week’s Castle Point Council flooding scrutiny committee, also heard of a few drivers doing the same.
He added: “As I was walking home, a car came speeding through.
“Lots of the residents started shouting at them.”