DRIVERS who take part in the Purley Way "cruise" have been warned they could be sent to prison, after the council secured an injunction from the High Court.
The order prohibits car cruises, where drivers meet to race and perform stunts, in Imperial Way, Lysander Road and Pegasus Road.
Anyone caught speeding, driving in convoy, racing or sounding horns – or even dropping litter, shouting or swearing – could face up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
The council said it wanted to take "tougher action" after a series of police dispersal orders failed to solve the problem.
Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said the measures had fallen short because they needed to be enforced by the police – even though the injunction must be as well.
"If police are at the end of Imperial Way stopping people going in then it was fine," he said.
"But every time they were pulled away to do other jobs, it would go around the internet and the cruisers would turn up again.
"Of course the police need to be there for the injunction, but it's a stronger penalty.
"If the police do them for it, that will make anyone convicted, and their friends, think again."
Police have tried a number of different tactics to stop cruise meetings, usually held on Thursday and Sunday evenings, which attract hundreds of people and involve wheel-spinning, handbrake turns and high-speed races.
Dispersal orders, giving officers the power to disperse the crowds, have been renewed every six months, but have proved to be an ineffective long-term solution. Fines have been handed out and cars have been seized, but the problems have remained.
Sergeant Paul Harrison, from the Waddon safer neighbourhoods team, said the area had suffered antisocial behaviour for "too long".
"Anyone breaching the terms of the injunction can expect to be prosecuted and those that are could be facing a prison sentence," he added.
Cllr Hoar said: "This isn't just a few lads doing wheel-spins and not doing anyone any harm. It's damaging business, there have been burglaries linked to it, and there's all the antisocial behaviour as well.
"The injunction means potential prison time. We're hoping they will take it more seriously, particularly if someone is prosecuted for it and spends time in jail."