THURROCK Council is cracking down on off-road vehicles after more than two hundred incidents of antisocial behaviour in just four months.
The council’s Cleaner Greener Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee ordered a review of antisocial behaviour involving off-road vehicles causing “harassment, alarm and distress to residents across the borough” reports the Local Democracy Reporter Service.
Between April and August police received 233 reports of nuisance vehicles, including cruisers in West Thurrock.
Essex Police launched Operation Caesar to combat the problem, carrying out checks in the borough once a week.
A report to the committee said: “Our residents raise this as a matter of concern at all our public engagement events, with members across the borough and through reporting to both Police and council.
“Although quad bikes, three-wheeled bikes, trail bikes and some other two-wheeled vehicles are built for off-road use, it is against the law to ride them in public parks or on publicly-owned land without permission from the local authority. As with unlicensed powered vehicles, these can only be used on private roads or land, with the road or land-owner’s permission.”
It adds: “Whilst some people regard this kind of vehicle use as harmless fun we recognise that the regular antisocial use of vehicles in some parts of our borough is having a much wider impact on our communities than simply nuisance noise.
“In addition, the effect of dangerous or reckless use of vehicles in Thurrock has led to criminal damage of other vehicles, land and surrounding property and as has seen drivers and riders also risk injuring themselves, other road users, cyclists, pedestrians – particularly children, as well as their pets as they do not have full control of their vehicle and their full attention on their surroundings. “Driving or riding in this way can also be used as a form of intimidation, either to other road users or the community. Loud noise from engines and music, and deliberately creating large amounts of exhaust or tyre smoke can also be seen as an aggressive act.”
Operation Caesar operates at weekends in the top five areas of concern at the time. In September, police focused on Chadwell St Mary – Orsett Heath, Billet Lane, Stanford Le Hope, Butts Lane, Stanford le Hope, Blackshots Lane, Grays and Country Park, South Ockendon.
Residents are urged to report any incidents to Essex Police by calling 101.