VIDEO: Officers raise game to tackle the menace of Wigan's off-road bikers
Off-road bikers using two-wheeled machines illegally on the borough's open land have been sent a dramatic message by the authorities.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) invited the media to waste company and charity Recycling Lives to see vehicles which should not be ridden in public crushed by the huge machines.
Bikes which had proved a nuisance for the borough’s residents were broken down into tiny blocks which could then be sold by the firm as a raw material for industry.
Off-road biking is a considerable problem in Wigan and Leigh, with the large open areas of ex-colliery sites and slagheaps providing tempting tracks for those on quads and two-wheeled machines.
The police have now said that enough is enough, though, with more than 25 vehicles seized during a 12-month clampdown running between January 2017 and January 2018.
In the same time period more than 45 warnings were dished out to riders in the borough saying they needed to desist or would face further action.
As the bikes were fed into a huge defragmentising machine separating out metals from other components police had strong messages for those heading out onto land where they should not be.
Superintendent Gareth Parkin of GMP’s Wigan division said: “What a lot of people don’t understand is that riding bikes on open land without permission is illegal. It is also dangerous and we often find that many of the bikes being ridden in this way are unroadworthy.
“People riding illegally cause danger to themselves, because they often ride without insurance or helmets, and to other members of the public who use these areas to walk their dogs and socialise.”
Also watching the machinery at work at the Preston site was Daniel Vickers, an anti-social behaviour officer in Wigan Council’s Safer Communities team.
The local authority is working with the police and a number of other organisations to try to crack down on nuisance riding. He said: “We do get a lot of regular complaints about off-road bikes, especially at this time of year when the weather starts getting better.
“For us it’s about speaking to the complainants, getting descriptions of the people responsible and the bikes and passing that information on to the police. We’re also working with partner agencies to educate people about safety, both for members of the public and riders themselves.
“The wildlife trust is also involved because it is very concerned about people riding in nature spots and affecting the wildlife.
“It’s not just an issue of noise or anti-social behaviour, we’re looking at the big picture and covering the whole problem.”
The bikes were disposed of by Recycling Lives - an industry-leading recycling business which depollutes and recycles 7,000 vehicles every month through its machinery.
The Preston-based business is unique in using its operations to support charity programmes. Operations manager Danny Jackson said: “The bikes have now been fully recycled for reuse. We are glad to be able to help the police to make streets safer for the public while minimising negative environmental impact.”
GMP has recently introduced a new toolkit to enable residents to easily hand over information.
Anyone suspecting off-road bikes are being ridden illegally in the borough can call police on 101 or alert the local authority through the ReportIt app.
View the toolkit here offroadbikes