'Innocent fun? Absolutely not': Hundreds complain about Walsall off-road bikes nuisance

Hundreds of complaints have been made
Hundreds of complaints have been made

Nuisance off-road bikers have been given a ‘we’re coming to get you warning’ following hundreds of complaints from people across Walsall.

Walsall Council is looking to invest in drone technology to help the police gather vital evidence to track offenders and seize their vehicles with the aim of crushing them.

Figures revealed there had been 777 reports to West Midlands Police by fed-up residents and a further 57 to the council’s community protection team in the last 12 months.

Councillor Garry Perry, deputy leader for resilient communities, said he conducted his own survey asking people if they’d been affected by off-road bikers and received more than 100 replies in a week.

Chief Supt Phil Dolby, of Walsall Police, said officers had to adhere to a strict pursuit policy to avoid liability in case of injuries.

He added the force does have use of drone technology but this is shared across the West Midlands, with demand high in all areas.

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said his cabinet would look into financing a drone for the police to use solely in the borough.

Councillor Perry said: “I undertook a survey during September across Pelsall. We had 103 responses within just one week.

“And the majority of them, more than 85 per cent, stated they were affected by anti-social behaviour associated with off-road bikes.

“The majority (of complaints) were noise nuisance and second to that, intimidation.

“You have those who just have (bikes) for recreational use but you have another type who use those vehicles on the road without helmets and often with their faces covered.

“These are not children. These are older teenagers and adults who are probably linked to criminal activity.”

Walsall Council’s director for resilient communities, Paul Gordon, added there was also issues with quad bikes and electric scooters.

He said: “Innocent fun? Absolutely not. These are deadly machines in the wrong hands and the disregard for the law is something that needs to be addressed very quickly.

“The problem is across the borough, it is not in specific areas. However there are corridors of activity where we would want to take targeted action on.

“We do have 777 reports to the police and about 57 to ourselves per year. That needs to continue. We need as much intelligence as possible.

“We’re gathering lots of data and we’re starting to get the evidence together to be able to deal with this in a proactive way. The message from ourselves is ‘we’re coming to get you and your bikes’.”

Chief Supt Phil Dolby said: “Off road bikes and the way they are being ridden at the moment is totally unacceptable, frustrating and very dangerous.

“What’s quite tricky for us is a tactical response that doesn’t lead to injuries to the public, these people or my officers either being injured or in court.

“The ultimate solution to this is finding out who they are and where they’re from.

“We have to get innovative and what we are coming around to, is doing operations where we use drone footage to track them to where they live. We want to find some of those bikes and crush them.”

And Councillor Bird said: “This seems to me to be an opportunity for us to assist the police. If there are shortages of drones then we can finance one that is specifically for the Walsall borough.

“We’ve got to stop this, It is an invest to save. The more money we put into this, the police can get on with their day job.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News