Sandwell council and police issue warning on off road motorbikes ahead of festive season
Police and council teams in Sandwell have warned that off-road motorbikes bought for Christmas could be seized and crushed if they are used illegally.
Sandwell Local Policing Area (LPA) and Sandwell Council are jointly tackling nuisance caused by the illegal use of motorbikes.
Bikes are being seized and CCTV footage used to identify hotspots and track down people who are riding illegally and dangerously, putting themselves and others at risk.
Council tenants also face action if they are involved in illegal motorbike activities or found harbouring illegal bikes at their homes. Tenants are being warned they could face losing their home if they are involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.
The police and council are also raising awareness through school talks as well as installing equipment at key locations to prevent illegal motorbike access.
Reports of nuisance off-road bikes to the police and council have been rising but police say the quality of information being received is improving and awareness campaigns with residents have promoted this.
Chief Inspector for Sandwell, Paul Griffiths, said: “We know that anti-social, off-road bikers plague our communities in Sandwell and cause a nuisance on the roads.
“It is illegal to ride any motorbike in public open spaces such as parks, play areas and on pavements. It is clearly dangerous, intimidating and unacceptable for those who want to use these areas appropriately and safely.
“If a rider is caught using any type of off-road motorbike or quad bike and causing a nuisance to others they are liable to prosecution and the vehicle will be seized.
“There will be no let-up in our efforts to combat anti-social biking as we head into the festive period.
“If you are buying an off-road bike as a gift for someone this Christmas, please make sure you know the law and if you have any concerns or want advice please get in touch with us.”
Sandwell Council Leader, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, said: “We are very concerned about the illegal use of off-road motorbikes and the risk to both riders and others in the community.
"Residents are also fed up with the nuisance caused by this anti-social behaviour.
“So, if you’re thinking of buying an off-road bike this Christmas, either for yourself or someone else, please ensure it will be used legally, safely and with the landowner’s permission. Otherwise, you could soon find that Christmas gift ends up being seized and crushed.
“We recently held a multi-agency meeting, attended by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, to discuss and agree ways to tackle nuisance off-road bikes, and we will continue to step up our joint response as we know this is a worry for our residents.”
People are encouraged to report nuisance motorbikes as incidents are happening to police either via calling 101, via Live Chat on www.west-midlands.police.uk or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Or they can report incidents online to Sandwell Council at www.sandwell.gov.uk/motorbikenuisance – including details such as vehicle registration information and a description of the bike or rider (such as the colour of the bike and clothing).
Off-road bikes are classed as motor vehicles and as such must be constructed to a specific standard in order to be ridden on a public highway. The majority of off-road bikes which are used in an anti-social manner in Sandwell do not meet these standards.
Off-road vehicles include moto cross, trial and endurance bikes, mini motos, quad bikes, electric scooters and any other mechanically propelled vehicle.
Off-road bikes must also have the following to be used legally on a public highway:
A log book and be registered with the DVLA
A valid MOT
Be fitted with lights
Be fitted with registration plates
The riders must also:
Be aged 17 or over (16 if the vehicles is classified as a moped)
Hold a valid driving licence
Have valid motor insurance
Wear suitable safety equipment (i.e. a helmet)
Where the conditions above are not met it is illegal to use an off-road motorbike on the road. It is the responsibility of the rider to know the law and offence can be committed under the Road Traffic Act (1998) and the Police Reform Act (2002).
Off-road bikers must have the permission of the landowner to ride on private land.
It’s illegal to ride an off-road bike on any land not forming part of a road, or any road which is a footpath or bridleway, without the landowner’s permission.
Even if permission is gained, if the person is riding dangerously or carelessly they could be prosecuted.