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Call for crackdown on off-road bikers after dog walker’s ‘near miss’ in Hartlepool

Robert Smith has urged police to crack down on off road bikers after his ner miss. Photograph by Frank Reid
Robert Smith has urged police to crack down on off road bikers after his ner miss. Photograph by Frank Reid

A residents association chief has called on police for a crackdown on off road bikers after a near miss.

Robert Smith, chair of the Fens Residents Association, says three off road bikes came out of nowhere at high speed while he was walking a dog on a grassed area on the estate.

Barry Coppinger

Barry Coppinger

He said he had to quickly pull the dog out of the way to prevent it being run over and one of the bikers missed him by inches leaving him shaken.

The bikers sped off towards the A689 and are then said to have been involved in another near miss with an elderly lady also walking her dog.

Mr Smith has contacted police and ward councillors calling for a crackdown on such bikes before something tragic happens.

The incident happened at the north end of amenity grass which separates Newark Road from the beck on the Fens.

Mr Smith, who was with his wife at the time, said: “Three off road motorbikes came round the corner from Fenton Road at high speed.

“I had to dive to get the dog from underneath wheels and in the process one of them missed me by inches.

“They did not stop but sped off at top speed towards the A689. A bit further along an elderly lady screamed as they failed to slow to avoid her dog.

“This is a serious ongoing problem in this area and for years I have asked for it to be taken seriously before there is a fatality or serious injury.”

Mr Smith says the issue has previously been raised at meetings with Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

But he added a lot of residents have stopped reporting incidents to police as they do not believe they will be acted upon.

Mr Smith added: “Our Fens Newsletter often carries articles to help the police tackle crime, now we want this help to be a two way process.”

Acting Chief Inspector Darren Bainbridge, from the Hartlepool Community Safety Team, said: “Operation Endurance is a Force-wide initiative aimed at targeting illegal off-road bikes. Regular patrols are carried out across all four local policing areas in relation to Operation Endurance and by local neighbourhood teams.

“Wherever possible, action will be taken against illegal off-road bikers. It is vital that those people within our communities who may have information on where these bikes are kept and who owns them comes forward.”

Information can be passed through the Bike Watch scheme at www.cleveland.police.uk/contact-us/bikewatch.aspx or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org

People can also call 101 to speak to their local neighbourhood officer.