Merseyside Police has today hosted an awareness event to highlight Operation Brookdale, the ongoing Merseyside Police response targeting the illegal and anti-social use of off-road bikes across Merseyside.
During the event, a large number of bikes were crushed at a salvage and recycling site outside of Merseyside, and officers carried out demonstrations to show the dangers, noise and nuisance that off-road bikes cause, as well as explaining what measures police and our partners carry out to reunite stolen bikes with their owners, and to target the issue on a daily basis.
In 2017, the force seized more than 300 off-road bikes, many of which were stolen and have been reunited with their owners when possible. Investigations are also ongoing after mass gatherings of off-road bikes and seizures from storage containers.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: “Operation Brookdale is our ongoing commitment to eradicating the harm that the illegal and anti-social use of off-road bikes cause to the communities in Merseyside, and we will not stop until the problem is completely gone. Working closely with partners, we continue to have success in seizing bikes, as we can see today and every day.
“We will always look to reunite stolen bikes with their owners where possible, and have identified and spoken to victims across the country as part of ongoing and complex investigations. The vehicles crushed today are not roadworthy machines and would be a danger to riders and members of the public alike if used on the streets.
“But this event isn’t just about crushing dangerous vehicles, which cause nuisance and risk to all decent people in our communities. It is also an opportunity to make it clear that we are not taking bikes out of the hands of decent, law-abiding members of our communities. We are taking them away from people who steal bikes, use them anti-socially and to carry out serious and organised crime. We listen to our communities and stand alongside them to say that this behaviour will never be tolerated on Merseyside, and we are making inroads into reducing incidents.
“Before Christmas, we showed footage from a serious incident in St Helens from 2017, which continues to cause great distress and suffering to the family involved. This was to try and deter parents from buying such bikes and using them illegally and anti-socially on the streets and pavements of Merseyside and we were pleased to see no large-scale gatherings of the sort seen in previous years. We want this progress to continue, with the help of partners across local authorities, and the parents, guardians and teachers who can influence younger people and guide them away from this criminal behaviour.
“Off-road bikes are not children’s toys, they are not road legal and can only be ridden on private land with the land owner’s permission. You’re wasting your money buying one but most of all you are putting your children and others at risk. Think of the numerous people harassed and put at risk by riding these bikes, and the consequences are there for all to see.
“We are continuing to do everything we can to stop incidents like this from blighting our communities, so if you have information on where they are being stored, where they are regularly being ridden, and what vehicles are transporting them – let us know, report online, call Crimestoppers, even send a message to us on social media. We will keep taking action whenever we can to remove dangerous vehicles from the streets."
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “As I travel around Merseyside, I hear time and time again from residents that off-road bikes which are being driven illegally and anti-socially are one of their biggest concerns.
“Merseyside is a safer place every time of one of these bikes is seized and events like this one today, demonstrate the Force’s ongoing commitment to taking scrambler bikes off our roads. By crushing the bikes that cannot be returned to their owners and are not roadworthy, the police are ensuring these vehicles can no longer be used to intimidate and endanger other road users.
“Merseyside Police are working really hard to tackle this issue and they are making progress, but they need the public’s help. By providing information either to the police or anonymously to Crimestoppers about where these unlicensed, uninsured bikes are being stored and who is using them, people can help the police to find them and seize them. By doing so, they will be helping to make their own communities safer.”
Anyone with information on who is using these bikes and where they are being stored is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
- How old do you have to be to ride a motorbike? The minimum age is 16yrs old for a moped
- Do I need a licence? Yes
- Do you need insurance? Yes
- Can I get insurance for an off road bike? No
- Where can it be ridden? There is nowhere on Merseyside where an Off Road Motorbike can be ridden legally, unless you have a landowners permission
- Off Road Motorbikes don’t have lights, horns or VRM Plates