‘DNA spray’ could be the latest weapon used by police trying to crack down on nuisance riders in South Tyneside.
Anti-social behaviour by motorbike and moped riders has been an issue in the area for several year, but officers hope the new tactic could help them tackle the problem.
Speaking at Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum, Sergeant Claire Fada said the tactic could get around restrictions and potential dangers of pursuing offenders.
She told the panel: “Each station will have a canister and the intention is when motorcyclists are out they get sprayed with the contents of this canister.
“The officer would spray the motorcyclists and that spray clings to the bike, the rider and their clothes.
“We can then prove from the canister if its been used in ASB.”
DNA sprays have already been trialled by forces in Manchester and London, which in May saw figures for ‘moped-enabled crime’ drop my more than a third in just three months after the sprays were introduced.
Risk of causing injuries during pursuits means police are not supposed to chase nuisance riders.
However, sprays means it is possible to link individuals to their vehicles, even if they are later dumped.
But Sgt Fada also urged the public to keep reporting incidents and promised action when possible.
She added: “If you know where these bikes are being stored, tell us.
“We will do the leg work, we will seize them, we will crush them.
“I get that people can just go out and get another bike and we might only get one, but they will soon get sick of having to replace their bikes.”
At least month’s (June) West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum officers also raised the prospect of using drones to track riders.
But Sgt Fada warned costs, including training and the purchase of air time, meant limited their viability as a long term tactic.
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service