Summer reminder of dangers of off-road bikes

Merseyside / July 20

Merseyside Police, Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, and our key partners are reminding people of the dangers of off-road motorbikes as the summer holidays approach.

Ongoing force Operation Brookdale was originally introduced in 2012 as a response to a rise in incidents over the summer and is now run all year round, working alongside partners from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter, local authorities, housing associations, schools and youth groups to target the anti-social and nuisance use of off-road bikes.

This year, we have seen a decrease in reports of anti-social behaviour and nuisance involving off-road motorbikes across Merseyside. More than 300 bikes have been seized during this time, many of which have been found to be stolen and have been reunited with their owners.

Continuing activity throughout the summer holidays will include:

  • Increased patrols in hotspot areas, including parks and other public land
  • Enforcement of traffic law on the highway to restrict the activities of illegal riders on our roads
  • Use of NPAS helicopter to act as an eye in the sky and monitor the movements of these bikes
  • Use of locally gathered intelligence to execute warrants where storage locations are identified
  • Visits to petrol stations by officers and PCSOs
  • Partnership work with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Local Authorities (including City Watch CCTV) and housing authorities

Image 1 (13)Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: "Merseyside Police has worked very hard to crackdown on the illegal and anti-social use of nuisance bikes. Operation Brookdale has had real success, helping to protect communities and keep local people safe. A large number of bikes have been seized and many have been reunited with their rightful owners.

Chief Inspector Gary O'Rourke, who leads the operation, said: "Reports of the anti-social and nuisance use of off-road motorbikes have decreased significantly this year, which is extremely encouraging for us and our communities, some of whom have been blighted by the issue.

“However, we know that the problem has not gone away and it still affecting people’s lives, and we are determined to keep this momentum up and drive down these numbers even more, until the problem is completely removed for our communities.

“Key to all of the good results we see is information from the public and our partners, and we need this to continue. Our best chance of removing this threat is always to know where bikes are being stored before they get out on the streets. If you know where bikes are being stored, either in homes, storage units or elsewhere, please come forward and we will act on all information provided.

“We all have a part to play in Operation Brookdale. As we have sadly seen, it only takes one reckless action from a rider to devastate families and communities, and we all have a part to play in keeping our roads, pavements and green spaces safe.

Image 4 (5)“This reduction is not down to luck, it is the result of a concerted effort across many different agencies, from local authorities, schools, youth groups, housing associations, and not least people within the communities affected. We know that some areas still suffer from problems but we see success on a daily basis, with officers acting on information to remove these bikes from the streets. As you can see, it makes a genuine difference.

“From work carried out in previous years, we know that incidents can increase during the holiday period. Working together, we will ensure that this doesn't happen. We issued some very powerful video footage in December, appealing to parents and guardians not to buy or allow their children to ride these vehicles, and the same message stands this summer. Think very carefully about the consequences, know where your children are, and support us and your own communities.

“The consequences suffered by families can be completely avoidable and families and communities continue to suffer because of the reckless behaviour of individuals who didn’t think of the consequences that riding a powerful motorbike in a built-up area might cause.

"We are continuing to do everything we can to stop incidents like this, 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 take action whenever we can to remove dangerous vehicles from the streets."

Station Manager for Road and Water Safety, Steve Pang said: "Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service are frequently called out to deliberate fires involving scrambler bikes. These fires take fire crews away from responding to potentially life threatening emergency calls – they are treated as arson, a serious criminal offence. We will continue to work closely with Merseyside Police and other partners as active participants in Operation Brookdale to reduce dangerous and anti-social use of scrambler bikes and the associated risk of arson and road traffic collisions."

Anyone with information on who is using these bikes and where they are being stored is asked to message @MerPolCC, or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111. Follow your local policing Twitter and Facebook pages to see some of the successes of Operation Brookdale, and how you can provide information.