A supermarket has been fined £7,500 after failing to stop antisocial drivers using its car park as a race track.

Complaints from neighbours living near to the Sainsbury's West Green store in Crawley prompted Crawley Borough Council to issue the supermarket a noise abatement notice in May 2006.

The problems started in 2004, with residents complaining that the car park was being used as a racing strip and people were being kept awake by the noise into the early hours with loud music, horns, speeding tyres and roaring engines.

One resident kept a diary of the events which she gave to the council.

At times there were between 40 to 50 cars in the car park and the noise level would be double the amount which is acceptable in a person's home.

Prosecutor Edmund Walters, at Horsham Magistrates Court, said residents had heard tyres screeching and there had been unnecessary and excessive revving on engines during the early hours of July 22.

The store originally pleaded not guilty to four breaches of the noise abatement notice but changed its plea to guilty on one of the breaches on July 22. The council withdrew the other three.

Today the supermarket was ordered to pay a £7,500 fine and £7,462.50 costs to Crawley Borough Council.

The court heard that since the incidents more CCTV had been installed and the store was proposing to employ night security staff.

Louisa Bagley, representing Sainsbury's, said: "There is frustration at Sainsbury's because they have co-operated and are endeavouring to address the issue.

"There is antisocial behaviour in the area as a whole but the blame has been placed on Sainsbury's."

Councillor Keith Blake, portfolio holder for Environmental Services for Crawley Borough Council, said: "I'm really pleased that we've been successful. Sainsbury's has a duty as a responsible company to manage its site properly.

"Local residents were suffering and our environmental health officers made sure that the nuisance has come to an end.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and hope to meet with Sainsbury's shortly to see what further measures can be put in place so that the problem is not repeated."

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman: "We take the situation in West Green very seriously and we are doing all we can to address the problem.

"A security guard is present and we have installed numerous vehicle calming humps in the car park and we continue to work closely with the police and report incidents.

"The car park has CCTV and there are barriers to the entrance and exit."