Longstanding readers of this blog will know how much I loathe the illegal use of scramblers and four-wheel drive vehicles that seems to plague our local commons, country parks, bike trails and open spaces. I know that catching these people in the act is very difficult, and I salute those working to combat the problem. I haven’t anything against offroaders as such – providing they pursue their hobby legally in a place where it is allowed. Sadly there are a minority of morons who simply don’t care for, or respect our environment, and tear up byways, green lanes, bridle paths and grasslands. I was pleased to spot recently a press release from West Midlands Police indicating that they were having some success in apprehending the thoughtless idiots giving the hobby a bad name.
Police Target Off-Road Bikers-Brownhills
3 May 2011
Police in Brownhills are warning people caught riding off road bikes, quad bikes and mini motos on local farm land, that they face prosecution.
Officers are now operating a “zero-tolerance” approach to dealing with the ongoing issue of off road bikes being ridden on farm land off Engine Lane, which is situated off the main Chester Road (A5) Brownhills.
Walsall Magistrates Court last week fined a man £715 for riding his vehicle on the land, after being caught by officers last December. Another man, reported at the same time, had earlier pleaded guilty, and was issued with a £200 fine.
Officers hope these latest examples will help put a stop to the noise, nuisance and damage caused to local land by off road bikes.
Sgt Steve Wilkinson from Brownhills Police neighbourhood policing team, said:”We are now operating a Zero-tolerance policy to riders caught in the area, as previous warnings have been ignored. We will prosecute people found riding on the land and any bikes found being ridden in an anti-social way or without insurance, risk being seized.”
He added: “neighbourhood officers are determined to tackle the illegal use of off road bikes following concerns from the local community fed up with the constant noise, nuisance and damage caused to the land and attitude of the riders.”
Mini motorbikes, or mini-motos, are not approved for road use so can only legally be driven on private land with the permission of the landowner.
Many mini-moto owners do not realise this and are using them unlawfully on common land and public roads.
Some off-road bikes are road-legal but should still not be used on pavements or park areas.
Officers have powers to stop riders and, following a warning, remove or seize the vehicle if they continue to use it illegally or anti-socially.
He added: “This issue is one of the team’s main priorities and one regularly brought to our attention and local officers are looking to stamp anything out which impacts on the quality of life of the people they serve.”
Anyone with concerns should contact the team at Brownhills police station on 0345 113 5000 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
If you see these activities taking place, please do call the local police. I’ve personally met teams patrolling the common, and they are trying hard to combat this particular nuisance. With so many skittish, nervous red deer on the common, it can only be a matter of time before there’s a nasty accident. Hopefully, the deer will come off best…
I’d like to thank Jo Hunt, communications manager at West Midlands Police, and Supt. Keith Fraser, head of local policing for Walsall Borough, for their patient and generous help in compiling this post. To those – like the hated Taxpayers Alliance, who seem to think social media use by public bodies is a waste – up yours. This post, and the conversations that generated it, wouldn’t have happened without the groundbreaking, tireless and excellent social media engagement pioneered by West Midlands Police.