‘Joy riders’ smash into campervan with terrified family inside at Walpole Bay

The now damaged van was parked at the Walpole tidal pool car park (Walpole image Swift Aerial Photography)

A Margate family has been left shaken after suspected joy riders smashed into their campervan twice at Walpole Bay while they were asleep inside.

Donna Walker, her husband and five-year-old daughter were staying in the tidal pool car park last night (September 3) to escape the noise of a nightclub that operates under their home.

But at around 2am this morning they could hear cars being raced around the car park and then one smashed into their van, spinning the vehicle around. Terrifyingly, the driver then went in for a second hit at high speed.

Donna, 41, is now warning other people who might think of staying there about the danger and urging anyone who can help with information to contact police.

She said: “My husband, 5-year-old daughter and I were sleeping down at the tidal pool car park tonight in our van to escape the noise from the club below our flat.

“At around 2am, joy riders were racing around the car park and their car hit us. Not just a small hit, this was a direct and targeted extremely fast hit. Our whole van shook and span around 45 degrees. They then went in for a second hit, reversing into us, I think, at high speed and smashing their own brake lights. They shattered their own windscreen in the impact, not sure if front or rear, and they left two enormous dents in the front of our van, which is likely now a write off.

“To be woken up like this was completely terrifying. The car hit us so close to where my daughter was sleeping inside the van. I am so thankful we are all ok.”

Donna says the family were in “total panic” and, although the culprits had gone, they felt so unsafe that they returned home.

She said: “One jolt could be accidental, the second jolt felt targeted. That was when we both panicked.”

Donna is appealing for anyone who sees a smashed up blue Honda or has CCTV footage of anyone joy riding nearby around that time, to get in touch with police quoting reference 05-0477 or the traffic reference below.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police was contacted on Sunday 4 September  and it was reported that, at around 2am that morning, a car had collided with and a parked camper van in the car park next to Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, Cliftonville.

“It is reported that the car did not stop at the scene and enquiries into the incident are being carried out by Kent Police’s Traffic Summons Team.

“Anyone with information should call 01843 22289, quoting reference 209-2150-22-4646-WE02.”


  1. Absolutely terrifying for them how awful that they have sleep in the camper van because of the noise from a nightclub.
    One only has to see all the skid marks on on car parks and roads around Thanet to tell where the brainless idiots have been wearing their tyres out. It’s only a matter of time before the idiots or innocent people are killed. Once someone is killed then there will be plenty of police on scene carrying out an investigation.
    In the meantime the police are nowhere to be seen.

  2. Maybe all the new “arty types” with their interests in landscapes and sculptures and similar quiet pursuits aren’t so bad after all. I wonder why they attract such hostility.
    Who would I prefer as a neighbour I wonder?
    Artists who spend all their time working with paint or clay?
    Or a family of “joyriders” out at all hours and with no respect for other people and their right to a quiet life?
    Is it really so difficult?

  3. Of course the Police presence in Thanet at night is superb as usual!

    It is common knowledge amongst adrenaline seeking miscreants that the Police will do nothing as they are not around.

    I am glad the family are safe but they will suffer from this shock for sometime.

    Are they the family who complained about nightclub noise sometime ago and were, if I remember correctly, told in essence nothing could be done?

    Kathy Bailes?

    • Margate & Ramsgate cop shops only open from 9-5. Better than Deal though, where apparently all crime stops at 1 in the afternoon.

        • Probably too busy knocking on doors for Tweets that have offended woke snowflakes & learning how to do the Macarena for the Pride events, at the behest of their Chief Constable.

          • I totally agree here.
            If a elderly woman can be followed home from her local cashpoint last Wednesday morning in Northdown Road, cliftonville to be mugged outside a house where CCTV exists for her money and the police do not investigate it for evidence, and someone can go in the shop where the cash machine is located opposite a bus stop where the guy hangs out choosing his victims, and get their own evidence of the culprit following her, and witnesses are able to give evidence, but nothing is followed up, then law and order is failing in Thanet and the Chief officer is a fool for his soft policing approach.
            If you need anything done you have to do it yourself and face the consequences afterwards. There is no faith in this emergency service to investigate crimes even when given to them on a plate. The mugger is still roaming free, and everyone in this close knit area knows who he is.

        • Maryp and Steve-perhaps you could be a little more realistic in your comments, if you want to sound plausible in your criticisms of the police.

    • Perhaps someone should ask Cllr Yates who appeared to minimise the night club noise issues at the time of that article and not acknowledge residents’ distress?

  4. This is utterly terrifying. Like Donna we also live above the nightclub and often have to resort to sleeping in a camper van to get respite from the noise. Donna’s family are such a lovely people; thank goodness they weren’t hurt. If the joy riders had hit the back where they were sleeping rather than the front of the van it is unthinkable what could have happened. I hope that this is thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators caught. Margate is starting to feel lawless, with no consequences to reckless behaviour which leads to even more outrageous behaviour.

  5. It’s awful that a family with a young child are forced to sleep away from their home but then to be driven into like that, not once but twice. Utterly terrifying.

  6. Only in thanet Again. If anyone knows anything tell the police and they will do absolutely nothing because they are scared. Only in thanet.

  7. Let the idiots on the license “Committee” who allowed the night club permission to try and sleep in these peoples flat. Why was permission given when flats above would obviously be affected by the noise??? Makes one wonder who know who on the “committee”

  8. They were having fun, but had bit of an accident, we were all young once.
    I’m sure they get over it. Don’t live near a nightclub or let’s party.

  9. Well done Josh. Very responsible comment. It’s comments like yours that reminds me why this country (not just Thanet) is going to dogs 😡

  10. To stand up for josh abit. These people knew it was an night club before so could possibly be one again.

    To quote the pro manston brigade ‘move if you dont like it’ !

  11. I have just posted this on a Facebook Group as the more I read about this story the more ugly and sickening the situation is for people who live close to this night club. Noise is a pollutant and damages people’s health. Worse than that the local Labour Party through it’s support of licensing for the club Faith in Strangers is effectively making residents homeless 2 nights a week, despite an attempt to Call for Action about the housing crisis in Thanet. This is a very serious indeed potentially life-threatening situation. Not hyperbole but a risk assessment.

    “I left a question on Kathy Bailes story asking if it was this night club and it does appear to be the same. If the sighting of the offending car was back at Faith in Strangers after the aggressive, life-threatening ramming of the dormobile, then without stringent forensics to prove otherwise we are potentially left to consider that this was battering with intent, dangerous driving etc. as it is now clear that they aren’t the only family to seek refuge from the noise pollution here. I also note that Councillor
    Rob Yates spoke in support of Faith in Strangers along with the ward Councillors Currie and Keen. This has also been raised in the comments in the latest story. Along with Cllr
    Helen Elizabeth Whitehead failed Call for Action on the appalling crisis in local housing provision it beggars belief that Councillors have been actively rendering residents above Faith in Strangers homeless at weekends. I can only conclude that the Labour Party appears to have a serious conflict of interest here and perhaps the cost of living crisis will solve the problem by Faith in Strangers regrettably facing the prospect of going out of business or putting on mime acts instead. I hope this outrageous problem is dealt with imminently and the Labour Group thinks about its priorities. The original story:- https://theisleofthanetnews.com/…/residents-bid-for…/”

  12. The local Councillors in Cliftonville West are with the business along with Cllr Yates. They have taken not one blind bit of action to help resolve the issue and should be so ashamed of themselves. All they do when they do not agree with someone is block them from their Facebook group without even attempting to respond. For Cllr Keen to also be the Margate Mayor this is scandalous too. They obviously are not doing what they were voted in to do as just look at this area. It is filthy and desolate with boarded up community structures and buildings galore. We need Cllrs that have an interest in the area and who are prepared to listen and act on behalf of residents, not just businesses. I will not be voting for anymore like these waste of timers.

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