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Top police officers warns of scrambler peril
1:22pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
ST HELENS’ police chief has issued a warning about scrambler bikes as part of a week-long crackdown on off-road vehicles.
Operation Brookdale aims to help communities which have suffered from the criminal and anti-social use of scramblers and quad bikes.
Scramblers have been used in 12 shootings the Merseyside force has dealt with this year, particularly in Liverpool, Stockbridge Village and Bootle, prompting police bosses to voice their concerns.
In St Helens the focus is more on the risk of accidents for riders and the communities affected by bikes used illegally on local parkland, farmland and other open spaces.
Last month a collision between scramblers on private wasteland owned by the Forestry Commission near the Dream sculpture left a 15-year-old boy and a 28-year-old man with serious injuries.
Chf Supt Rob Carden, area commander of St Helens, said: “Sometimes the riders of these bikes don’t understand the consequences for local communities and the harm the use of these bikes can cause.
“Recently across the force there have also been a number of serious injuries caused to the riders of these bikes following collisions.
“In September two people were seriously injured when two off-road motorbikes collided at the site of the Dream sculpture in Sutton Manor.”
Since the crackdown started on Monday four warnings relating to the anti-social use of vehicles have been issued.
It is illegal to ride a scrambler bike on public land and when on the road riders must conform to the Highway Code and have relevant documents and safety equipment.
Officers will be patrolling parkland and open spaces, and are urging communities to let local police know where scramblers are being used illegally.
Chf Supt Carden added: “Anyone who takes to the roads illegally and poses a danger to pedestrians and other motorists on our roads risks losing their licence, and if their reckless driving results in injury or death they will face a prison sentence.
“My messages to these people is: ‘Ask yourself – is it worth the risk? “ Police checks are being made at garages to ensure under-16s are not being allowed to buy fuel.
Parents who let their children ride off-road bikes in a public place may be prosecuted.
Persistent use of the bikes will result in seizure and possibly destruction of any bikes which cannot be proved to be held legally.