September 27th, 2016

LOOK: Police raid Solihull homes in clampdown on dangerous off-road bikes

POLICE in Solihull have raided three homes as part of a crackdown on dangerous bikers who have blighted the borough in recent weeks.

Three quad bikes have been seized from one address in Smithswood this morning (April 14) and three people have been arrested − a man and a woman on suspicion of public order offences and a man on suspicion of criminal damage.

At a second property, one off-road bike was seized and a man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

The clampdown follows dozens of reports of people using motorbikes, scramblers and quad bikes in an anti-social manner across the borough.

The Observer reported pleas from Smith’s Wood, Chelmsley Wood and Meriden Park residents earlier this year after illegal off-road bikes tore up large parts of parks – discouraging members of the public to use them.

The raids also follow widely-reported scenes of disorder and dangerous driving outside the high-profile funeral of Christopher ‘Stig’ Clarke at St Alphege Church on Monday (April 14).

The Observer and police were inundated with calls from concerned residents.

One angry resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Observer: “Bikers were pulling wheelies on the wrong side of the road for a long period of time.

“The bikes were driven insanely and it’s a miracle that no one was injured.”

Superintendent Sue Parker, from Solihull Police, said: “First and foremost I want to reassure the people of Solihull that we continue to take this matter extremely seriously and have been working hard to identify those responsible for this unacceptable behaviour for some time.

“This morning’s seizures and arrests are just some of the outcomes of the on-going investigation and follow an arrest made last month in relation to the use of off-road bikes in the area.

“The disruption in Solihull on Monday again highlighted the complete disregard those responsible have for their own safety and the safety of the public.”

Supt Parker said she had heard concerns and ‘critical comments’ from members of the public over officers ‘turning a blind-eye’ and filming of bikers’ dangerous driving at Monday’s funeral.

She explained: “Although it may look like inaction, it is actually part of our on-going plan to gather evidence while also maintaining public safety.

“The reality is that there are occasions where intercepting riders at the time could directly result in serious injury to them or innocent bystanders.

“We have to make an assessment on each occasion as to whether it’s safe to intervene and regardless of whether or not we take action there and then, we are absolutely committed to tracing the people responsible and ensuring they are held responsible for their actions.”

Supt. Parker also issued a fresh appeal for information to members of the community.

She said: “We continue to work with partner agencies to find solutions to these issues but it is local residents who can really help us make the difference because there are people out there who know those responsible for this behaviour and where those bikes are being stored.

“We are examining a range of footage both from Monday and other incidents and I thank the public for their support in sharing footage with us.

“This provides valuable assistance in identifying offenders and enables us and partners to take action against them.”

Anyone with information should call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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