A new quad bike has been used to help put the brakes on illegal off-road biking in the Newark area.
Nottinghamshire Police’s new quad bike – funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping - saw its first deployment in the area on Sunday (May 13) for Operation Jericho - an ongoing multi-agency initiative in the Newark and Sherwood area targeting the illegal use of off-road motorbikes, quad bikes and other nuisance vehicles on private or public land.
Over the course of Saturday and Sunday officers from the Neighbourhood team at Newark, alongside a drone pilot from Lincolnshire Police, conducted high visibility patrols in hotspot locations. Officers also used the new quad bike on patrols.
As part of the patrols three bikes were seized.
Sergeant Paul Cash, of the Newark Neighbourhood Team, said: "We regularly get numerous calls about the anti-social and, at times, criminal behaviour through the use of illegal off-road bikes.
"Operation Jericho is the ongoing partnership operation set up to tackle this issue in Newark and surrounding areas. We work alongside Newark and Sherwood District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Newark and Sherwood Homes, Sustrans and local landowners to jointly tackle the problem.
"The new quad bike allows us to access areas which we wouldn’t be able to using a police car or van and it adds to the Force’s off-road bike capability. It gives us more flexibility to tackle the issue of illegal off-road biking, to identify offenders and seize their vehicles.
"I’d also like to thank Lincolnshire Police for the use of its drone during our operation."
The new quad bike will also be used by the Force to help tackle other forms of rural crime.
Mr Tipping has vowed to prioritise the issue of illegal off-roading in the county, alongside other crime and disorder problems which cause misery to Nottinghamshire communities.
He said: "We want to address some of the persistent issues which blight the lives of ordinary people. One of those is illegal off-road biking and we are working very closely with the Force to support the enforcement work put in place to tackle this problem."
Operation Jericho is just one of a number of initiatives launched as part of Force’s ongoing drive to tackle the issue of anti-social and illegal off-road biking which has blighted communities across the county.
As well facing prosecution and having their vehicles seized and potentially crushed, riders persistently committing anti-social behaviour are being warned they could face further consequences including tenancy warnings and ASB injunctions/orders.
Sgt Cash added: "Aside from being dangerous, off-road bikes cause misery within communities and is one of the issues that residents have told us causes them the greatest concern.
"For most of the time these vehicles will be used illegally and people may not realise this.
"Bikes can only be ridden on private land with the landowner's permission. This would include waste land which is owned by someone.
"We have crushed bikes that we’ve seized as part of Operation Jericho. We hope this sends out a clear message that once we’ve identified offenders we will utilise all of our powers to take action which could ultimately end up with their bikes being crushed.
"We also need to educate and inform parents, who may be thinking about buying such machines for their children, of the potential dangers and lack of legal opportunities to actually use them.
"I hope the ongoing action we’re taking to tackle the illegal and anti-social use of these vehicles reassures our local residents that we are listening to their concerns and taking them seriously. We will be continuing our efforts, working with our partners, to crack down on this anti-social behaviour.
"We need more members of the public to help us reduce nuisance off-road biking by reporting incidents to us. If anyone has any information about people using off-road bikes then please call us on 101."
Details of places and facilities where off-road bikes can be ridden safely and legally in the Nottinghamshire area can be found online.