DNA spray to be used 24 hours a day in battle against illegal off-road bikers

Police want to identify this man after a biker was seen doing wheelies in front of other cars.
Police want to identify this man after a biker was seen doing wheelies in front of other cars.
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DNA spray used to catch out rogue off-road bikers will be rolled out 24 hours a day across the district.

Officers in Wakefield East began using the spray last year and successfully convicted an 18-year-old rider.

Chief Inspector Richard Close.

Chief Inspector Richard Close.

Now patrol officers all over the district will have access to the spray to tag illegal off-road bikers, meaning it will be on the streets 24 hours a day for the first time.

Each can of spray, which is harmless and invisible to the eye, contains a unique chemical solution. By spraying people who are riding anti-socially and the vehicle they are on, officers can ‘tie’ them to the offence.

The district's Operation Matrix police off-road team will also be expanded as part of a crackdown on illegal riders, with four new bikes to be deployed following funding from Wakefield District Housing.

Chief Inspector Richard Close of Wakefield District Police, said: “Anti-social off road is a blight on communities and it is an issue which we are determined to tackle through increasing resources available to our Neighbourhood Policing Teams."

Joanne Smith, WDH Neighbourhood Services Manger added: “As well as the obvious dangers involved in off road motor biking, we fully understand the disturbance and distress this causes to housing communities who have to suffer the noise and antisocial behaviour caused by motorbikes.

"We must also stress that any WDH tenant or household member proven to be involved in this form of antisocial behaviour will find our own tenancy action being taking against them.”

Local officers are also issuing pictures of people they want to identify in connection with illegal riding, and are warning parents who turn a blind eye or encourage to their children’s activities that they could be punished too.

The new measures are being put in place following a recent increase in reports of anti-social off road riding, particularly in the Castleford and Knottingley areas.

Earlier this month, officers received a report of two girls riding on footpaths on the Warwick estate. They used the spray on the youngsters, aged 16 and 13, and arrested both on suspicion of driving offences.

Inspector Paul Sullivan of Wakefield Police East, said: “We have seen an upswing in reports and what for me is disappointing is intelligence we are receiving suggesting some parents may be turning a blind eye to this sort of behaviour.

“I would say to parents that, quite frankly, if your children are involved in illegal off road riding and you are found to have been complicit or encouraged this you could well face action yourself.

“I would urge residents to report any information they may have about people riding anti socially in their communities to allow us to take action.

“Our investment in tools such as our DNA spray shows just how seriously we take this issue."

Coun Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council's cabinet member for communities and chair of the Community Safety Partnership, added: "This type of anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and we will continue to work with the police to do all we can to tackle it.”