The fight against the illegal and anti-social use of mini-motos and off-road bikes is continuing in Widnes.
Over the past 2 weeks officers have seized 5 off-road motor bikes, issued 4 section 59 notices to riders and made 5 arrests, as part of Operation Scrambler, where three men have subsequently been charged.
Operational activity has seen officers from Widnes Local Policing Unit carrying out high-visibility patrols in hot-spot areas at key times targeting those intent on causing a nuisance.
PC Vicki Abraham said: “This issue is a real cause of concern for the local community and is one that we are taking extremely seriously. These bikes are a major contributing factor to anti-social behaviour across the town and we want to reassure residents that we are doing all we can to locate those responsible for this sort of behaviour and take positive action where necessary.”
To be on a road, a motorcycle or mini-moto needs all the usual equipment to be fitted and working – for example, lights, brakes, brake lights, horn, speedometer, good tyres, and registration plates. These are required even if the motorcycle is being pushed.
Mini-motos are also classed as mechanically propelled vehicles by law. This means people who use them must be at last 16-years-old, hold the relevant licence and MOT and be covered by insurance.
Police have the power to seize bikes and cars which are used in a way which causes harassment, alarm or distress even if the motorists has tax and insurance.
A warning is given first but if that fails to be effective and the vehicle is used in an anti-social manner again, it will be seized under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act. Vehicles can also be seized if the rider is not insured or has no road tax.
Riders are feeling the effects of the ongoing operation, which was launched in response to concerns raised by local residents. In recent months it has been gathering pace with information being supplied by members of the public and local officers acting on that information where they can.
PC Abraham added: “We are grateful for the intelligence that we have received so far from local people and this is helping us to build up a bigger picture of what is happening and who is responsible. We specifically require detailed descriptions of any bikes and riders that are causing a nuisance. Also any information in relation to where these bikes are being stored and key factors regarding the rider such as hair colour and description, what they are wearing and potential names. All of this information can be really valuable to our investigations.
“Widnes Local Policing Unit is committed to working together with the local community to tackle the issue. We will continue to follow-up any information that is passed on by members of the public - and we will use this information to support any seizures and prosecutions where necessary. You can rest assured that our efforts will continue.
“We are aware that there may be residents who have information but are concerned about passing this on. We understand these concerns and are doing everything we can to make this process as easy as possible. Information can be passed on in a number of ways and it can remain anonymous if you would prefer.”
Anyone with any information in relation to the illegal or anti-social use of mini-motos in the town is urged to contact Widnes Local Policing Unit.
You can do this in a number of ways:
• Speak directly to a local officer whilst they are out and about on patrol in your local area.
• Pass on information and photographs of bikes and riders to a dedicated e-mail address that has been set up to support the operation - firstname.lastname@example.org
• Call Cheshire Police on 101 and quote ‘Op Scrambler’.
• If you do not want to speak directly to the police you can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
• In an emergency dial 999.