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Councillor highlights nuisance 'nightmare' of off-road bikes

Crankwood Road in Leigh where off-road bikes, quad bikes and 4x4 vehicles have been riding around
Crankwood Road in Leigh where off-road bikes, quad bikes and 4x4 vehicles have been riding around

A popular councillor and former Mayor of Wigan has spoken of residents’ nightmare experiences with off-road bikes.

Coun Myra Whiteside, who represents Leigh West ward in the chamber, says she has been inundated with complaints from people fed up with the two-wheeled nuisance.

She said the hotspot is the Plank Lane area of Leigh where there is a huge amount of open land for off-road motorcycling and quad bikes.

Coun Whiteside also said Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had not been as proactive as she had hoped in dealing with people’s complaints.

She said: “We have had a lot of problems where the slag heaps are. We understand there are groups coming from Liverpool at weekends and it is all planned. We’ve also had problems with 4x4s coming down.

“It really has been a nightmare. People are trying to make it a beautiful area to walk and we’ve now got a ranger as well but it is being churned up and totally destroyed by nasty people from outside the area.

“It’s terrible. It’s bad for walkers and it is really hard for building companies there to manage it all on their sites.

“Residents in the surrounding area, including myself, predominantly have to listen to the noise of motorbikes over the weekend. It’s just anti-social behaviour and we are totally frustrated with it.

“We’re having to spend money as a council trying to seal it off but as soon as we do they just break in again. They are very determined and come really prepared.

“I got as far as contacting the deputy chief constable because I had tried everybody else. It has been very difficult.

“The problem for people with the police is that you don’t get to build up a relationship with any one set of officers. You start working with them and then they are all dispersed suddenly and you get another set in.

“What residents and myself have been asking for is a face-to-face round table meeting with the police about this and then to walk round the site with them.

“I’m not sure the police realised how serious this was. I know it’s not a priority in terms of major crime but it is a big issue for residents.

“We need to put a proper strategy together. It needs more than the occasional visit to seize bikes. What has happened so far is encouraging but it needs more action because summer is coming and then we will have another lot of problems with it.”