A continued crackdown on reckless scrambler riders has led to more arrests and bike seizures this week.
Yob bikers have sought to take advantage of quieter roads and sunny weather to cause a nuisance across Merseyside in recent weeks.
But with reports of crime down, police have stepped up their efforts to tackle riders – and have enjoyed success.
Seven bikes have been seized and five people arrested on Merseyside in recent days.
A further 12 bikes were recovered by officers the week before.
Complaints of dangerous driving and attempted burglaries have led to Merseyside Police using its force quad bikes, dog units and even a helicopter to deal with complaints.
Incidents have included:
• A Suzuki Scooter was found abandoned in Carr Lane Woods, Prescot on Thursday
• On Wednesday night, a 27-year-old man was arrested after a stolen motorbike was ridden around Liverpool. He was tracked from 8.10pm in Walton with the help of a National Police Air Service helicopter. The arrest was made after the bike was stopped by police on Long Lane.
• The same incident started with police also probing a scrambler bike rider, who separated from the biker in Aintree. But, just after the Long Lane stop, a scrambler biker was arrested after he was seen with no helmet and pursued on foot in woods near Kirkby Valley Golf Club
• Patrols attended the Britonwood Training Estate at Knowsley Industrial Estate just before 1am on Tuesday after alarms were set off. A number of offenders were seen on off-road bikes at scene, which were ridden away on the arrival of police. Officers searched the area and discovered three units had been burgled, with shutters and doors damaged by the offenders. It is not thought anything was taken during the burglaries. At 3.40pm on Wednesday, an off-road bike with two males on board was seen by patrols on Dakin Walk, Kirkby. The passenger got off the bike and ran off before being pursued on foot by officers and detained shortly after on Ashfield Crescent. A 34-year-old man from Kirkby was arrested on suspicion of three counts of burglary and has been released on conditional police bail
• After a report of a scrambler bike and quad bike riding dangerously in the Hillfoot Road area of Hunts Cross on Tuesday, the vehicles were abandoned in woodland in Speke and recovered by officers
• A scooter stolen in St Helens was recovered on Knowsley Lane, Knowsley Village on Monday and the rider arrested after he attempted to make off. He was arrested on suspicion of driving with no insurance and otherwise than in accordance with a licence, as well as on suspicion of an unrelated racially aggravated assault
• After receiving a number of reports of scrambler bikes in St Helens on Sunday, the Roads Policing Unit was deployed, assisted by a police helicopter, and one male arrested and two bikes seized
• A stolen Honda was recovered on Brook Hey Drive, Northwood, Kirkby on Sunday after officers responded to reports of a bike being hidden
Superintendent Gary O’Rourke said: “Our officers share the frustration felt by the public when scrambler bikes are ridden illegally, often dangerously and at speed.
“We are determined to make sure those who put themselves and others at serious risk of injury or worse are brought to justice, and the vehicles they use taken off them.
“We have had great success in the past seven days taking vehicles off the street and bringing offenders to justice.
“I hope this illustrates that our officers will stop at nothing, and do everything in their power to stop such people from blighting our roads and open spaces.”
Cheshire Police has recorded a rise in complaints about off-road bikes in Widnes during the coronavirus lockdown and has assisted Merseyside Police with some incidents.
The force has also stepped up efforts to deal with complaints.
Detective Inspector Ian Whiley, of Widnes Local Policing Unit, said: “Everyone should be aware of the need to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Yet there has been a spike in reports of young people riding scrambler bikes and quad bikes in Widnes.
“We have had reports of young people doing so at speed and whilst not wearing helmets.
“What these young people are doing is not only illegal, it is also putting lives at risk.
“By not follow the government’s guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, they are increasing the chances of the virus spreading and potentially putting unnecessary strain on emergency medical care."
*You can report concerns about off-road vehicles with both forces by calling 101. Merseyside Police is also available via Twitter (@MerPolCC). Crimestoppers can be contacted, anonymously, on 0800 555 111