Bedfordshire Police has launched a crackdown on the illegal and dangerous practice of riding off-road bikes in public places.
Officers have responded to public concerns and taken action against the growing use of such vehicles with a two-day series operation in Houghton Regis and Luton.
In order to combat the anti-social behaviour in these areas, the force has commissioned two off-road police bikes to help target those committing the offences.
On Tuesday and Wednesday (14 and 15 April) a team of 24 police staff including an inspector, two sergeants, three response police officers, a vehicle examiner and 15 PCSOs took to the streets, along with two road policing officers on the specially-enlisted bikes.
The initiative, called Operation Meteor, resulted in two arrests on Tuesday in the Parkside area of Houghton Regis.
Two people were arrested, two stolen bikes were recovered and
two Section 59 Notices (warnings) were issued.
Officers also visited two addresses, including one in Dunstable, as a direct result of reports from the public on incidents of anti-social and dangerous behaviour.
During yesterday's operation in Luton, two police officers from the community team, six PCSOs and two officers on the off-road bikes were out in force covering the Stopsley Common, Wigmore Valley Park and Stockwood Park areas.
PC Richard Tott, leading the operation, said: "There were a lot of people out on the common and in the parks. They were very pleased to see the off-road bikes and the local community team.
"There were very few incidents relating to bikes so we can assume that the culprits saw the increased police presence and decided to stay at home."
It is against the law to ride motor-vehicles such as mopeds, motorcycles and scooters on public highways – including parks and pavements – unless they meet certain legal requirements.
It is also a legal requirement for all riders and pillion passengers to wear a protective helmet, regardless of the type of vehicle they are riding.
Chief Inspector Gavin Hughes-Rowlands, overseeing the two operations, said: “We want to reassure the public, through these operations, that we are taking action on their concerns to tackle these offenders and keep our communities safe.
“People may not see us acting immediately, but we have to be intelligence-led in our response to this kind of crimes and have been working hard behind the scenes to deal with this dangerous and anti-social behaviour.
“We have maximised our opportunities to get the most positive result, and this week’s results are a reflection on that with a number of arrests made, warnings given and stolen vehicles recovered.”
Chief Inspector Hughes-Rowlands also urged residents to remain vigilant and report any information they have around off-road biking in their communities.
He added: “I would encourage people to continue to call 101 with information – not just to tell us what has happened but also who is doing it, what they look like, and what they are wearing. This will help us to target the offenders.
"I am reminding those who want to keep up this nuisance behaviour that it won’t be tolerated and they will be caught.
"This week’s operations won’t be the last and I am warning anyone who is part of this activity that we will be back again."
Anyone with information is urged to call the Bedfordshire Police non-emergency number 101, or text 07786 200 011.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.