POLICE are ramping up their efforts to tackle nuisance off-road bikes amid fears that rogue riders could injure, or kill, someone.
Durham Police and the Safe Durham Partnership say they have received “constant” calls over problem bikes plaguing estates, coastal paths and nature reserves.
The partnership has received funding for the force’s motorcycle section to target the bikers further - but are calling for more residents to report the sightings of the riders so they can be caught.
Durham county councillor for Horden, Dennis Maddison, said: “They are flying about on the countryside tracks and beach banks at 60-70mph. It’s frightening, especially when people are walking their dogs.
“Somebody’s going to get killed, it’s just not safe. I saw four or five bikers together in a convoy wearing ski masks just the other day, and one young lady last week was riding with a young child on the handlebars, I couldn’t believe it.”
Coun Maddison said the problem seems to get worse during the holiday period, but added that sending out the motorcycle squad in the past has usually seen results.
He said the main hotspots where the bikes are causing most problems in Horden are the Pony Fields area and Limekiln Gill.
Safe Durham Partnership bosses added that the problem appears to be in areas where there are cycle tracks, such as the former railway line in Shotton.
Kay Woodhall, safer neighbourhoods officer with the Safe Durham Partnership, said: “We can’t always respond straight away, but can attend after the event, which is why we want people to report incidents more.
“We need as much information as possible, such as a description of the bike and rider and the direction it was heading in.”
PC Gary Ward, of Durham Police’s motorcycle section, said: “We are out there and we will continue with the patrols and when we catch people we will take the necessary action which can lead to prosecution and bikes being seized and crushed.
“But if people don’t ring us, on 101, we won’t know where there are problems.”