Operation launched to tackle off-road bikers in South Tyneside
Police and council chiefs have joined forces to tackle illegal and dangerous off-road biking in South Tyneside.
Northumbria Police is working with South Tyneside Council and Safer Homes South Tyneside to curb motorbike disorder in the borough.
Motorbike riders - in particular those riding off-road motorbikes and mini-motos - have been creating disorder in West Harton using the bridlepath that runs along the mineral line from John Reid Road to Tile Shed Lane as a race track.
The disorder also extends to Biddick Hall, Simonside and Whiteleas.
As well as causing disruption to residents, police are warning that people are being put at risk.
Police Community Support Officer Dan Baxter is part of the South Shields Neighbourhood Policing Team and has been working with partner organisations to tackle the issue.
Signs have been put in place along the mineral line and new gates are due to be installed to stop motorbikes from accessing the bridlepath.
PCSO Baxter said: “The bridlepath is popular with cyclists and dog walkers, but with motorbike riders tearing up and down we’re concerned it is only a matter of time before someone gets injured.
“The bridlepath is only narrow and motorbike riders drive at speed along it.
“The neighbourhood policing team has been working tirelessly to tackle this issue and a number of motorbikes have been seized as a result and people put before the courts for driving offences.
“It is illegal for off-road motorbikes, including mini motos, to be ridden on public land and private land without the landowners permission and we would warn those who do ride their off-road bikes illegally that we will take the bike off them and it could ultimately end up crushed.”
Councillor Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “The council is taking a very proactive approach towards tackling this anti-social and potentially dangerous behaviour.
“Last year we introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order prohibiting the use of motor bikes in public spaces throughout the borough. The orders give council officers and the police the powers to prosecute and or serve people with a fixed penalty notice of £100 who are in breach of the order.
“The West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum also paid for a CCTV camera for this area which will be installed very soon. This will enable us to identify and prosecute individuals who persist in this type of anti-social behaviour and help us give law-abiding residents the protection they deserve.”
Police have the power to seize motorbikes where it is consistently ridden irresponsibly and inconsiderately - or the rider does not have the right documentation - which could see the bike crushed and the rider put before the courts.