'Zero tolerance' pledge over nuisance off-road bikers in Sunderland communities

Concerns have been raised over off-road bike nuisance in parts of Sunderland, with police stressing they are adopting a “zero-tolerance” approach to crackdown on the issue.

By Nic Marko
Saturday, 18th June 2022, 3:56 pm

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Northumbria Police chiefs have reported the Coalfield area has seen an increase in complaints of off-road motorbike nuisance compared to their last reporting period earlier this year.

Force representatives added “more than half” of the reports of antisocial behaviour received in the area in recent months cover motorcycle disorder.

Steve Passey, community inspector, speaking at the latest Coalfield Area Committee on Wednesday, June 15, stressed they have had some “good success stories” of tackling off-road and illegal motorcycles recently.

Off-road bikers have been causing a headache in some Wearside communities.

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However the issue continues to be a top concern among residents, and police have reiterated they will not stop in attempting to catch culprits.

Inspector Passey said: “I think that just goes to show just how much we suffer from motorcycle disorder across the Coalfield area.

“I still maintain it’s a priority for us because that’s what the community tells us and I will deal with every offender in relation to motorcycle disorder as robustly as humanly possible, there is zero tolerance.

“Most people that do use motorcycles are repeat offenders and they will be dealt with, so we encourage people to report it to us, especially where these bikes are being used and stored.”

He added they will work with Sunderland City Council and others to tackle the issue with a “collaborative approach” needed.

The report to councillors noted although off-road motorcycle nuisance had risen compared to earlier this year, reports were around 22% down compared to this time 12 months ago.

This reflected reporting patterns with antisocial behaviour more widely, which had risen 31% since the last area committee meeting earlier this year, but was down 33% compared to the same period in 2021.

Inspector Passey noted the rise during the summer months is to be expected, while proactive police work has helped reduced numbers compared to last year.

He added: “As the weather gets better and the nights get lighter we tend to see an increase.

“My team has done quite a lot of work to try and stay ahead of the curve with antisocial behaviour and that’s probably contributed a little bit towards the decrease over the last 12 months.”

Cllr Claire Rowntree, deputy council leader, added she believes there is now an “increased confidence” among residents in reporting incidents to police due to more results being seen.