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Source: City of Sunderland

Off-road bikers in the Ryhope and Doxford areas of Sunderland are a regular noise nuisance on public paths and cycle paths, damaging public and private land, and putting walkers and cyclists at risk of injury.

In June, the City Council’s East Area Committee paid for a £800 telephoto zoom lens that local police officers are now using to help identify off-road bikers as part of Operation Eagle.

The dedicated operation has already had a significant impact – with more than a dozen riders identified, eight Section 59 warning notices handed out to riders and one motorbike seized by the police.

Money for the lens came from the committee’s Community Chest fund which annually grants funds to partnership projects that benefit residents.

Sunderland has five area committees – Coalfield, East, North, West, Washington – and the chair of the East Area committee is a Doxford ward councillor, Councillor Elizabeth Gibson.

She said: “We are a City Council that works in partnership and here, between the police and information from residents, we’re all working together to tackle these noisy and nuisance off-road motorcyclists.

“These riders are not welcome on our footpaths, on our cycle paths, or in our neighbourhoods.

“The vast majority of people want the best for our city and motorcycle anti-social behaviour is not welcome in Sunderland.”

Neighbourhood Sergeant Craig Sherriff, who is overseeing Operation Eagle, has welcomed the early results and says anybody found to be involved in motorcycle disorder will be dealt with robustly.

Sgt Sherriff said: “We understand the significant and corrosive impact that anti-social behaviour can have on the communities we serve, and that’s why we’re working closely with the council to tackle motorcycle disorder across the city.

“The long lens provided by the council is allowing officers to get clear pictures of those involved in this type of disorder, and these can be used as irrefutable evidence that allows us to seize bikes and deal with riders appropriately.

“Uniformed and plain-clothed officers are carrying out dedicated patrols in hotspot areas as part of Operation Eagle, and we’ve already had some encouraging results. That work will continue as we look to keep our communities safe.

“If you see any off-road riders or vehicle-related crimes happening in your area, please get in touch with us. We also want to hear from anyone who believes they know where these bikes are being stored overnight.”

* Anyone with information is asked to contact officers via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101. Information given to the police is treated as confidential and can be passed on anonymously.

MIL OSI United Kingdom