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Police crush gang bikes after mob rides through towns

Published: 16 April 2019

The bikes of a gang who ran amok on the roads during an illegal 'ride out' event have been crushed by West Midlands Police.

Last month the force secured public nuisance convictions against 29 men who used assorted off-road bikes, quads, mopeds and scooters for an illegal run through the area around Solihull and Birmingham in 2016.

The vast majority received suspended jail sentences, however ringleader Andrew 'Dru' Tomlinson received two years in prison, while fellow rider Matthew Sidwell was handed a 12-month sentence.

The police seized more than 20 machines during their investigation and 10 have now been crushed at a vehicle yard in Birmingham. The rest of the bikes had either previously been destroyed or donated to technical colleges.

Chief Insp. Hadley with the remains of one of the crushed machines

"These bikes were ridden recklessly, endangering road users and pedestrians," says Chief Inspector Jack Hadley, who was involved in the arrest and conviction of the gang. "Their owners have already been punished in court but it's important to show that we will also look to secure destruction orders against their vehicles.

"Some of these bikes cost thousands of pounds, so owners need to think long and hard before they take them out as only some of them are legal on public roads.

"Certain types of motocross bikes, mini motos and pit bikes cannot be registered with the DVLA, taxed or licensed, so are illegal on public roads. Offenders generally accept this, which is why we see them riding around with their faces covered in a bid to avoid being identified."

West Midlands Police also said that the tactics they used for catching bike louts have progressed considerably over the three years since.

"We are now much more experienced in going after these types of offenders," says Hadley. "We will use tyre-deflating stinger devices to contain groups of illegal bikers that pose a danger to road users and to disable their bikes.

"Some officers are also now equipped with a DNA spray which they can use to 'tag' offenders and their bikes. The public have told us they are fed up of bikers who behave in this way and we are determined to rid them from the streets of the West Midlands."

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