POLICE have pulled out of a charity Easter egg run as budget cuts hit.
In past years, Durham Constabulary’s motorcycle unit has backed the annual effort, which sees bikers drop off chocolate eggs to hospitals.
But as the specialist operations unit, which sees Durham team up with Cleveland Police to patrol the roads, look to deal with budget cuts and maintaining frontline policing, it says it can no longer arrange the ride, which starts and ends in Durham.
It will now be organised by members of the biking community.
Sergeant Iain Rodgers, of the unit, said: “The work was clearly valued as both forces recognised the importance of the teams and wished to retain a full-time motorcycle capability. Nevertheless in these difficult financial times the decision was made that five officers would be cut leaving a full-time team of one sergeant and eight constables split between Spennymoor and Wynyard.
“This clearly brings with it certain challenges, a need to re-focus upon our priorities and to be realistic about what we can and can’t do with significantly fewer resources and a host of demands on the horizon.
“In view of this we’ve taken the difficult decision that we will no longer be arranging the traditional Easter Egg Run.”
He added money donated through its BikeWise programme will buy eggs to be delivered to the children’s wards at the University Hospital of North Durham in Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital.
Sgt Rodger said: “On behalf of my team, I would like to thank you for all your support and generosity at Easter Egg Runs in the past. Over the years we have delivered hundreds of your donated eggs and you have raised thousands of pounds in support of the Meningitis Research Foundation.”
Tony Hudspith, who is organising this year’s event and expects around 800 bikers to take part, said: “I felt that due to Government cutbacks the children should not miss out on something to brighten their stay in the hospitals.”
This year’s ride will take place on Sunday, April 20.