A COUNCILLOR who warned a child could be killed unless something was done about motor menaces at a play park is delighted that the problem seems to be easing.
Peterlee town councillor Derrick Sillito appeared in the Mail last September describing how hoodie-wearing and balaclava-clad youths on off-road bikes were plaguing the park between the town’s Hampshire Place and Warwick Place.
He feared that if a child was hit by one of the problem bikes they would be killed and it was “an accident waiting to happen”.
But five months on, the Acre Rigg ward councillor says he is delighted that the situation appears to have improved through the community and police working together.
The Free Association for Independent Representation (FAIR) representative said the original four off-road menaces has dropped to one.
He is urging residents to report to police if they see or hear the rogue bike.
Coun Sillito said: “Since September the situation with off-road motorbikes, which caused a huge problem for the local residents, has now considerably improved in the area.
“The police, wardens and local residents have worked together to tackle this problem to catch the culprits and to have their bikes seized.
“Four off-road motorbikes has reduced to only one that is still being a nuisance.
“The last remaining motor menace seems to be riding on the pavements to take short cuts past the children`s park at Hampshire Place between 9pm and 10pm.
“I would like to ask the residents to be vigilant and if they hear or see the off-road bike to phone 101 and report this to the police.”
He added: “In September I did warn residents that a child could be hurt or even killed by these motor menaces.
“I am so pleased this has not happened and the children are a lot safer playing in or around the Hampshire Place park area.”
Since officers met with Coun Sillito last year, the East Durham Area Action Partnership has funded extra patrols by Durham Police’s motorbike section in a bid to catch the culprits.
Today Sergeant Steve Hawkes said: “We are aware of the complaint and work closely with our partners, Durham County Council, local councillors and the local community to identify areas where these bikes have been used.
“We have taken postive action on numerous occasions – we have seized several motorbikes from the area and prosecuted numerous offenders.
“This work will continue and we thank the community for their assistance in this locality.
“The importance of reporting by the community can’t be underestimated – it is a useful tool in combatting those complaints and bringing those responsible to justice and making communities safer.”
People should ring 101 to report the bikes, giving as much detail as possible so police can track down the culprits.