‘DNA’ spray to help tackle South Tyneside motorbike disorder issues

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A ‘DNA’ spray helping police to crack down on off-road and illegal motorbikes is set to roll out in South Tyneside in the next few weeks, councillors have heard.

Anti-social behaviour, motorbike and moped riders have been an issue in the area for several years.

In addition, the risk of causing injuries during pursuits means police are not advised to chase nuisance riders.

However, the ‘SelectaDNA’ spray – which contains water with a ‘tag’ that becomes visible under UV light – allows officers to link individuals to their vehicles, even if they are later dumped.

On September 13, the West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum heard updates on the scheme from Sgt Neil Watkin, of Northumbria Police.

He said training around using the spray has started with the tool expected to be rolled out in motorbike “hotspots” over the next few weeks.

Coun Jeff Milburn, speaking at the Chuter Ede Community Association,  called for more to be done to tackle bikers speeding and using false registration plates.

“Police are saying they need intelligence to stop these people but there is going to be an accident,” he said.

“Some don’t have registered plates at all and some have tiny ones that are illegal.

“These motorbikes are illegal so why can’t we take them off [the offenders].”

Sgt Watkin told the forum that identity was an issue in such cases due to offenders driving without plates or having plates registered to other UK addresses.

On locating bikes, he added:“We get very little information about where they’re being stored but the information that we do have, we act upon.”

Coun Doreen Purvis told the committee gathering intelligence on nuisance bikers was not a “quick fix” and that it can take months to gain trust from residents.

“We have to earn the trust of people that they will remain anonymous. That’s all we have at the moment until someone comes up with a better solution,” she added.

Coun Joan Atkinson also said illegal bikes were a “danger to pedestrians and road users” due to lack of insurance, but that the new spary used by police would play its part in tackling the issue.

“I’m delighted it’s going ahead and would be interested to know in coming months how the pilot is going,” she said.

Caption: Coun Jeff Milburn of Cleadon and East Boldon ward 

Caption: Chuter Ede Community Association in South Shields

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service