Streets of Knightsbridge jammed with Arab-owned supercars as wealthy petrolheads flock to London from the Middle East (and it’s keeping the parking wardens busy
- Influx of foreign-owned sports cars and 4x4s is becoming an annual event in wealthy Knightsbridge and Kensington
- It is thought Arabs come to the capital from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE to escape the baking hot summer months
- Cars spotted include a six-wheeled Mercedes AMG, a gold Range Rover and several brightly-coloured Rolls Royces
- Local residents are worried that the cars owners may not respect parking rules and could drive dangerously
- Council admits it is ‘extremely difficult’ for parking penalties - with cars from UAE amassing £30,000 in fines last year
High-performance supercars are pouring into west London as wealthy Arabs bring over their playthings for the ‘summer season’ in Britain.
The capital has seen a boom in the number of Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bugattis on its streets as rich Qataris, Saudis, Emiratis and Kuwaitis move to London during the Middle East’s baking mid-summer months.
The growing number of sports cars around the wealthy Knightsbridge district is causing some local residents to worry about breaches of parking rules and potential dangerous driving.
The most outrageous car to make the trip over this time around is the six-wheeled Mercedes G63 AMG, an enormous £370,000 off-roader. A 220mph Pagani Huayra, worth more than £1 million, has also attracted attention from tourists and passersby.
There is also a gold Range Rover, various Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis and Ferraris, numerous Bugatti Veyrons and a 1970s Datsun. The rich Arabs stay in the best hotels and empty their wallets in London’s most expensive shops, but they also cause problems with their unique supercars.
Residents in affluent Knightsbridge have complained they are behaving in an anti-social manner, revving the cars and treating the exclusive area as their personal racetrack.
Panda Morgan-Thomas, a management consultant, said: ‘I am not angry. I am just exhausted. After a relatively calm three years the last few days have seen the return of supercars to Knightsbridge.
'They are again racing down Sloane Street from late afternoons until 3 or 4 in the morning. We honestly thought we had made progress but it seems as though local residents are in for another sleepless August.'
The wealthy holidaymakers, predominantly from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, arrived in London around a week ago following the end of Ramadan.
A number of the supercars have been spotted with parking tickets while others have been driving around with incorrect registration plates. But despite residents dreading ‘The Season’, there is one group of people salivating at the supercars and leaping to the defence of the drivers - the Carparazzi.
When the wealthy Arabs arrive in London, car enthusiasts show up with their cameras to film and photographer the million-pound motors.
Paul Wallace, who runs the YouTube channel Supercars of London, played down their bad behaviour. He said: ‘August always proves to be the best time of year for petrolheads to see their dream machines on the road.
'Having seen the change in driving styles and cars, I still can't believe the police presence and residents kicking up a fuss. For four weeks out of 52, these super-wealthy individuals come and pump millions of pounds into the UK economy.
'Not only that, they fulfil many car fan's dream by bringing super rare Bugatti Veyrons, or special edition Paganis. I feel sorry for these guys coming here with their expensive toys as they get harassed by police.'
He added: ‘I have been filming all summer and rarely see them drive more than 25 per cent throttle, or make any noise at all.
'I don't see why the residents of Knightsbridge don't use this influx in foreign cars as an excuse to go on holiday and escape one of the busiest, loudest cities in the world for a couple of weeks of the year.'
Previous summers have seen expensive cars clamped outside department store Harrods, towed for being uninsured and locals complain about being kept awake by revving engines.
Westminster council has revealed the parking fines handed out to cars registered in the United Arab Emirates has nearly doubled in the last three years.
Cars from the Middle-Eastern country were given a whopping £57,060-worth of fines last year, up from just £31,780 in 2011/12.
Fears have been raised that drivers feel they can flout the rules either because they can easily afford the penalties, or because they know they’ll be able to move home and ignore the fines.
A Westminster City Council spokesman said: ‘We do all we can to ensure that all outstanding fines are paid – whatever the nationality of the driver.
'However, when cars aren't registered in this country, it is sometimes extremely difficult to track people down.
'We already work with an agency to help recover money owed by European drivers and we're currently exploring other avenues that might further our success. The start and end point here is that every driver who parks in Westminster is subject to the same laws.'