ESSEX Police have warned quad bike, off-road motorcycles and mini – moto riders in Thurrock that their machines could be seized and crushed if they ride dangerously or cause a nuisance in public areas.
Persistent offenders could be arrested and prosecuted as part of the campaign to reduce reckless riding on public roads and playing fields in the district.
Local officers have organised a poster campaign in response to safety concerns following an increase in the use of quad bikes, off-road motorcycles and mini-motos during the summer months.
The posters will be on display in some of the worst-affected areas which include Orsett Heath, Blackshots playing fields in Grays and Dilkes Park, South Ockendon.
The signs inform riders that for their first offence they will receive a warning under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act but any subsequent offences will mean their machines will automatically be seized or crushed. Riders could also face heavy fines for anti-social riding.
Officers in Thurrock’s Neighbourhood Policing Team have issued more than 50 Section 59 warnings since April 2013 and ten bikes have been seized as a result.
Pc Rob Watts said: "There were numerous complaints and safety concerns from members of public and local residents during the summer months at Blackshots playing fields in Grays but incidents have been reduced after some of the bikes were seized under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act.
"Quads, off-road motorcycles and mini-motos have been an on-going problem in Thurrock for a long time, but over the past few years we have seen an increase in their use. It appears that more young people are taking to the streets as though it is a fun thing to do, but the consequences can be serious and could lead to a fatality, which is something we want to prevent.
"We have recently seized two off-road motorcycles which had been bought by the parents of the youths. The parents were spoken to and were not aware that their children were using the off-road motorcycles on the roads and local playing fields, believing they were riding around on private land. The parents were fully supportive of action taken by Police and said that their children will no longer have use of any off road motorcycles.
"These machines can be a danger to other road and park users and cause noise nuisance. The riders carry out stunts and ride around a high speed, with many not wearing any protective gear and are putting themselves, pedestrians and other road users at risk. We are worried that it is only a matter of time before there is a serious injury incident or a fatality.”
Anyone with concerns or information about illegally-used quad bikes, off road motorcycles or mini -motos in Thurrock should contact Essex Police on 101.