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Cops go off-road to tackle bike theft.

Published: 02 December 2003

Two Yamaha WR250 off-road bikes are being shared between six lucky coppers to assist in tackling joyriding and bike thefts.

The crackdown on bike crime is already having an effect with 12 suspected stolen off road machines already seized in Derwentside in County Durham. Six trained riders will be assigned to lead the campaign.

The bikes are also being used to discourage riders from trespassing and causing a danger to the public.

PC Jonathan Hamill, who will ride one of the Yamahas, said: " We recognise there are genuine off-road enthusiasts who just want to ride their bikes, but they must still respect others and not cause damage to wildlife or the environment. A key part of this scheme is education not enforcement. "

Councillor Alex Watson, leader of Derwentside District Council, said: " We continually receive complaints about off-road bikes due to the noise and damage they cause. What we are talking about is the fear of crime, and motorcyclists contribute to that, especially when they are encroaching on local areas. People feel threatened. The council does not allow any unauthorised vehicles whatsoever on its land, and this includes scrambler bikes. "

Councillor Watson was not aware of the existence of approximately 10 byways which are legal for motorcyclists to use in Derwentside until MCN brought them to his attention.

To find out where to ride green lanes legally in the area, contact the Trail Riders Fellowship Northumberland group, who have details on the legal byways and off-road tracks in the area. Phone Chris Moody between 6pm-10pm on: 0191 387 3507