Hundreds of young drivers were stopped and their vehicles checked by police last night in a clampdown on dangerous car rallies.

More than 300 people turned up at Birstall's junction 27 retail park last night. Police claimed some were carrying out dangerous manoeuvres in their vehicles.

Every exit route from the car park of Toys 'R Us on the retail park was blocked by police cars. As horns sounded, rally participants queued and blocked a roundabout trying to leave and the occupants of each car were spoken to and photographed.

Inspector Tim Dale from the West Yorkshire Police motorway unit co-ordinated the huge operation, assisted by dozens of police from the Dewsbury division - some of whom had gone in on their day off.

"They were in the car park of Toys 'R Us and have been doing handbrake turns, speeding among crowds of people and carrying out dangerous activities," he said. "Only two weeks ago, a car was overturned and set alight up here and we have had accidents occur after people have left this type of event.

"It's got to the stage where unless something is done, somebody is going to die. People have to be made aware of that."

Everyone who attended the rally was spoken to by police and had their vehicle documents checked before being photographed for evidence purposes.

"In many instances, insurance companies do not cover a car's use for things like this," said Inspector Dale.

"We will be discussing the use of the vehicle with the vehicle owners, if they were not the driver.

"We will also speak to the insurance companies to ascertain if the use of the vehicle is legal, particularly if it has been modified, as that would invalidate the insurance."

He said police had issued warning notices informing people they had committed aggravated trespass by being on a private car park and if they returned in the next three months, they were liable to be arrested.

No-one was arrested in the sting but some people were prosecuted for vehicle defects.

"In doing these activities, they will damage their vehicles and the tread on their tyres will be drastically worn down," said Inspector Dale.

"Most of them are reasonable people, but once they get behind the wheel of a car they think they are the best drivers in the world and can do as they please - unfortunately they can't and too often we see the carnage of the aftermath."

l Parts of Armytage Road in Brighouse were again temporarily closed off and monitored by police yesterday evening.

The industrial estate also became a favourite spot for hundreds of youngsters in cars to congregate.