POLICE are cracking down on scrambler bikes causing havoc across Wigan’s countryside.
Specialist rough riding motorcycle mounted cops are now on the look out for illegal off roaders after reports of teenagers without helmets roaring down a much loved beauty spot, scattering dog walkers and joggers.
The tree-lined avenue that forms the former Whelley Loop Railway Line that runs through Aspull, New Springs, Amberswood and Hindley has become an impromptu race track.
Last year a team of six police riders were deployed as part of an intensive operation to track down illegal off-roaders, issue fines and confiscate vehicles and 60 Section 59 warnings were issued to youths found to be using bikes in an anti-social manner.
If caught a second time, they face being hit where it really hurts ... having their bikes confiscated and crushed.
Sgt Gareth Hull of GMP’s Motorcycle Enforcement Unit said that off-road bikes cause a “great amount of annoyance in communities” and police were responding directly to requests for action from local residents.
He said: “It is illegal to ride off-road bikes on public roads and in other public places.
“The only place where they can be ridden legally is on private land with the permission of the owner, or at a legitimate club.
“Anyone caught riding one illegally will be given an official warning, and those who ignore the warning will have their bike seized and crushed.
“Vehicles will also be seized if riders have no insurance or other valid documents, and I would remind anyone riding without a crash helmet that they are putting their life at risk.”
Council cabinet member for communities and the environment Coun Kevin Anderson said that the borough sees a rise in the number of people who “thoughtlessly” ride their motorbikes and quads plus four by four cars across open public land during the summer months.
He said: “It isn’t just anti-social, it’s also a dangerous past-time which alarms young, elderly and vulnerable residents. Sadly, in previous the years, the reckless driving of off-road vehicles has resulted in a number of accidents, some of them fatal.
“Off-road vehicles also cause untold damage to the natural environment, creating eye-sores and ruining people’s enjoyment of our green areas. So this campaign is an effective reminder to offenders that they are flouting the law and if they’re caught they will be fined, prosecuted or face having their valuable property crushed.” Report any off-road incident to Greater Manchester Police in confidence on 0161 872 5050 or by calling Wigan Council’s ASB hotline on 01942 404364.