`

Teenage rogue off-road bikers targeted in police petrol station campaign

Finola Clarkson, of Asda petrol station in Peterlee, Sergeant Iain Rodgers from Durham Constabulary's bikes section, PCSO Lisa Hall, Durham County Councils petroleum enforcement officer Chris Matthews and PCSO Nicola Bowman.
Finola Clarkson, of Asda petrol station in Peterlee, Sergeant Iain Rodgers from Durham Constabulary's bikes section, PCSO Lisa Hall, Durham County Councils petroleum enforcement officer Chris Matthews and PCSO Nicola Bowman.

The message is being sent out to petrol stations to turn down sales of fuel to under 16s in a campaign to cut problems caused by off-road bikers.

Durham Constabulary receives about 3,000 reports of antisocial behaviour caused by nuisance off-road motorbikes and quad bikes every year.

Now it is working with petrol stations to educate the public that it is illegal to sell petrol to people under the age of 16.

Operation Endurance was launched in August last year in a bid to tackle nuisance off-road bikers.

Since then, 16 bikes have been seized and a further 54 warnings have been issued.

Inspector Jon Curtis, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, who is heading up the operation, said: “If young people are able to access petrol, then they may be able to perpetuate anti-social behaviour by fuelling mini motorbikes. This is why our partnership with service stations is so crucial.

“Antisocial behaviour can have a huge impact on the quality of life for the communities in which it occurs.

“We sought the support of all service stations in the County Durham and Darlington area to ensure that all aspects of the Petroleum Act in relation to the sale of fuel to persons under 16 years of age are being strictly adhered to and enforced.

"The simple fact is that many of the off-road vehicles require petrol to run and any activity that minimises an offender’s access to fuel or makes the process of fuelling harder is likely to have an impact on their ability to continue causing anti-social behaviour.”

Durham County Council petroleum enforcement officer, Chris Matthews, said: “Petrol is a hazardous substance and we must ensure that it is not being sold illegally to or obtained for unsupervised use by children. Adults and petrol retailers must all abide by the legislation."

Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said “This topic is frequently raised by residents in the communities in I represent. People's safety is our top priority and I am pleased that the police are working with local people because these vehicles are causing a great deal of nuisance in our communities.”

Anyone who would like to find out more can contact their local neighbourhood officers or email opendurance@durham.pnn.police.uk to get in touch with the team.