'There is going to be a fatality' - fears rise over impact of nuisance riders in Sunderland
Families in parts of Sunderland are at "wits' end" due to antisocial behaviour involving motorbikes and off-road vehicles.
Officers from Northumbria Police have faced growing questions over how they plan to address nuisance riders in the region, especially over the summer.
Gregory Peacock, who represents St Anne’s ward on Sunderland City Council, told the local authority’s West Sunderland Area Committee that motorcycle anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a common issue impacting residents and called for action to tackle the problem.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (June 29) meeting, he said: “King George’s Park, every weekend, both days, Saturday and Sunday, almost every night you hear and see motorbikes, doughnutting around and residents are absolutely at wits’ end.
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“My main concern is one, there is going to be a fatality, and two, someone is going to retaliate and either injure themselves or end up in court.
“We’re not seeing any response, it’s rubbing people’s noses in it to see it all over social media.”
Sgt Gemma Robinson, who covers the area with Northumbria Police, stressed officers are aware of motorcycle ASB issues and that officers had visited King George V Playing Fields to investigate.
She said: “We are working with partners to tackle it, it’s just it’s an ongoing issue at the minute which unfortunately we don’t have a quick fix for. It’s not getting worse or better.
“We unfortunately are not able to chase people on motorbikes, we are not allowed to do it, because of the risk it poses to them, to us, to the wider public.”
She also urged residents to continue reporting such incidents, adding that intelligence is key for police in knowing the scale of the issue and helping them to tackle it.
Dominic McDonough, councillor for the St Chad’s ward, called on police to consider acquiring a vehicle to pursue off-road offenders, either by borrowing from a neighbouring force or purchasing one.
He added: “In a number of communities this is a problem, and we get complaint after complaint after complaint.”
Council officers added they expect to soon provide an update on plans by Northumbria Police to develop a dedicated facility for off-road motorcycles to accommodate the riders in Wearside, South Tyneside and Gateshead.