UNAUTHORISED horse and trap racing is taking place again for a second day, forcing police to close part of the A33.

As reported yesterday, Hampshire Constabulary said it was dealing with travellers racing horses and traps along the A33 near Micheldever and Popham and closed a lane as “a safety precaution for drivers”.

Police are back there again this morning and have closed the northbound carriageway between Larkwhistle Farm Road and Woodmancott junctions.

Yesterday police seized three vehicles and arrested one person for drug driving.

A member of the public told the Gazette the racing began again this morning before 6.30am, with “tens of travellers with ponies” and police already in attendance.

It was reported yesterday that around 200 people were taking part in the unauthorised event, blocking the carriageway and disrupting traffic.

Despite this, police allowed the event to continue and the road closure was not lifted until around 4.30pm with police officers stood by for much of the day.

Winchester MP Steve Brine told the Hampshire Chronicle that he had been contacted by many constituents complaining about the disruption and said he had taken it up with the chief constable.

He said: “Unauthorised activity is, clearly, unauthorised. The police need to be fair but firm and uphold the law for the majority. Our roads are not race-tracks. End of story.”

A police spokeswoman yesterday described the situation as “dynamic” and said “safety precautions” were being put in place for those at the event and other motorists using the road.

Local city councillor Stephen Godfrey said: "While I am pleased that the police have put the safety of all road users as their priority when dealing with this event, I share the disappointment of many that some people in our community are being allowed to ignore the law without any apparent rebuke.  This complex situation does need to be better controlled so everyone is bound equally by the same set of laws."

Police confirmed the event was held by members of the traveller community and had “attracted a number of people”.

They have been unable to confirm whether the group is the same one staying at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Basingstoke, which last night had to enlist the help of security guards with dogs to manage a large group staying there for a second night.

Yesterday's story about the pony racing on the A33