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Off-road bike gang yobs convicted over illegal 'ride out'

By Marion Brennan | Birmingham | Crime | Published:

A huge gang of masked off-road bikers who ran amok on public roads during an illegal five-hour "ride out" have been convicted at court − as police warn they will not tolerate drivers who use the streets as race tracks.

Jason Phillips from Wolverhampton

Among the 27 in the dock were two Wolverhampton men and a defendant from Great Barr.

The gang members, aged between 19 and 33, were all found guilty of causing public nuisance in what is believed to be the largest ever group prosecution for anti-social biking.

The ringleader was jailed for two years, and a fellow biker, both from Birmingham, jailed for 12 months, while others were given suspended prison sentences and community orders.

Joshua Birchall from Great Barr

They were among a large group who took to scramblers, quad-bikes and mopeds for an illegal bike rally − marketed as a “Take Back the Streets" ride-out through Solihull and Birmingham during a five-hour rampage on on June 26, 2016.

Video footage filmed by one of them − and boastfully uploaded to social media channels − shows the men causing chaos, blocking junctions, riding recklessly, pulling stunts and intimidating other road users.

The group met at a rendezvous point in Stechford, Birmingham, at around 1pm before setting out.

Jermaine Saa from Wolverhampton

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Among them were Joshua Birchall, aged 19, of Chantry Crescent, Great Barr and Jermaine Saa, 27, of Marksbury Close, Wolverhampton, who were given eight-month suspended jail terms and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Also there was Jason Phillips, 33, of Fifth Avenue, Low Hill, Wolverhampton who was given an eight-month suspended jail term and ordered to carry or 50 hours of unpaid work.

Cameras on board the police helicopter filmed gang members running red lights, driving over large grassed roundabouts, churning up parkland, and weaving between cars while pulling wheelies

West Midlands Police was inundated with complaints from concerned members of the public and launched an investigation, trawling through social media and police video footage, to identify and catch the main offenders.

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Investigators made dozens of arrests, seized more than 20 off-road bikes and charged 48 men with causing a public nuisance − with 29 sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court this week. All but one of the men admitted the charge.

West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman, said: "There is no justification for this type of behaviour. They risk serious injury to themselves, other road users and members of the public. We have footage from this and other ‘ride outs’ showing bikers ramping up kerbs and speeding along pavements close to pedestrians − including a line of school children − and it’s scary to think of the injuries they could inflict.

"They acted as though they owned the road – holding up traffic and aggressively surrounding motorists who didn’t obey their commands."

Two others will be sentenced separately later this month and another 19 men were charged but acquitted.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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