Think before you buy an off-road bike this Christmas

29 November 2016

PARENTS are being warned to think carefully before spending money on off-road motorbikes as ‘big toy’ presents for Christmas.

That’s the advice from Nottinghamshire Police and Newark and Sherwood District Council’s community safety team which says there are few places to ride such bikes legally and safely.

Incidents of riders illegally using such vehicles on private and public land have increased dramatically in recent years. Inappropriate use can lead to serious injury or even death aside from the nuisance, alarm and distress they can cause.

Many cases involve the use of quads, off-road bikes or pit bikes which are untaxed or uninsured and are a threat to public safety.

In the summer, the police and the council's anti-social behaviour team, in partnership with wardens from the Forestry Commission and police officers from Newark, Sherwood and Mansfield Neighbourhood Police teams, led a campaign named Operation Jericho to crack down on the problem with seven off-road motorbikes seized.

Offenders are again being warned that not only do they risk having their bikes confiscated if they fall foul of the law, they could – if they are Newark and Sherwood Homes tenants and are in breach of their tenancy obligations – lose their home.

Problem areas in Newark and Sherwood include the Sustrans cycle path at Balderton, Quarry Farm, Bowbridge Road, Newark and locations at Winthorpe, Boughton, Ollerton, Walesby and the old colliery site at Rainworth.

To assist operations to catch offenders, covert cameras are being installed at various rural locations in the district.

Terry Bailey, Newark and Sherwood District Council anti-social-behaviour officer, said: “If someone is thinking about buying one of these off-road bikes as a present this Christmas, we would urge them to think very carefully about where they are going to ride it because the options are extremely limited, particularly if they are not of age to hold the relevant driving license.

“These bikes can cost a lot of money and that could be wasted if we have to confiscate them because of improper use. Potentially, if offenders are local authority tenants, they could breach their tenancy and ultimately lose their home."

Inspector Louise Clarke, from Newark  Police, said: “We really feel that parents should think before they buy their children off-road or quad bikes.  It’s a big commitment to train their youngsters on how to use the bikes safely and also inappropriate use could see the bikes removed or fines being issued.  

"We have no problem with appropriate use of vehicles in a safe, insured and properly supervised environment such as an activity centre.   We will continue to work with the council and other agencies to make sure our communities remain safe and nuisance free."

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