#BikeLife raids mark clampdown by police
Two police operations in London and the West Midlands show a tougher response to lawless scrambler and #BikeLife ride outs.
In dawn operations, West Midlands police raided 28 addresses in a clampdown targeting louts who plague communities and intimidate road users with stunts and dangerous riding.
Officers swooped on addresses in Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and across the Black Country to prevent what they describe as ‘lawless road rallies’ of the type often tagged with #BikeLife on social media.
A total of 14 off-roaders and quad bikes were seized while investigators probe their links to so-called ‘Ride Outs’ that have brought chaos to the region.
Operation Wraithbane targets illegal bike rallies featuring scramblers, pit bikes, mini motos and quad bikes. 53 people have been arrested and seven charged with public nuisance offences. The rest are on bail and also face being taken to court.
The raids bring the total number of recently seized bikes to more than 50. The police will destroy any vehicles where they can prove they have been used for anti-social behaviour.
Inspector Andy Bridgewater, who led enforcement activity said: “We’ve seen off-road bikers clogging up roads, intimidating motorists, jumping red lights, pulling stunts in the street and putting pedestrians in danger.
“Some of the video footage we’ve captured has been truly shocking: bikers ramping up kerbs and speeding along pavements…sometimes just yards away from school children. It’s totally unacceptable and I sympathise with anyone that’s been inconvenienced by these groups.
“Communities are telling us they are fed up with bikers who feel they own the roads and are intimidating others.”
Clampdown on Halloween terror rides
In London, officers in over 20 police vehicles dealt with a Halloween ride out involving antisocial behaviour, including riders spraying fire extinguishers at passers-by.
Police had been made aware of plans for a large bike meet, with groups travelling through Essex to locations across East London. Following a joint operation by Essex and Metropolitan Police, 15 people were arrested.
Offences included drug-driving, conspiracy to commit public disorder and theft of motor vehicles. Officers used various tactics, including deploying stingers, to tackle the riders.
Two people were arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, one on suspicion of driving while disqualified and the fourth was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs.
Furthering claims that the BikeLife movement is closely related to organised motorcycle crime, three bikes which are believed to have been stolen have been recovered.
Met Police Superintendent Tania Coulson, spokesperson for the Met said: “The group of individuals who came out today were intent on causing crime, and we saw the same levels of antisocial behaviour we have witnessed over the past few years.
“The policing plan, working with our colleagues in neighbouring forces, meant that the group were targeted in areas which minimised the risk to the public, and could not enter central London.”
Chief Inspector Nick Lee, who led the Essex Police operation, said: “Our paramount priorities were to ensure public safety and to deal with those intent on causing crime and disorder.
“The recklessness of some riders showed a blatant disregard for other road users and pedestrians, with officers witnessing some going the wrong way around a roundabout on the A13, the wrong way up a sliproad on the A128 and pulling wheelies on main roads.
“They were clearly intent on causing trouble, and we worked closely with colleagues in the Metropolitan Police to use various powers and tactics as necessary to deal with offenders and minimise disruption to law-abiding members of the public.”