Two people from St Helens are among 13 people quizzed after police swooped across Merseyside in an investigation into off-road bike incidents.
11 men and two women were arrested across the force on suspicion of a variety of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance, theft and drug offences and have been taken to police stations where they will be questioned by detectives.
A 23-year-old man from St Helens was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and a 33-year-old woman was cautioned for possession of cannabis.
Large quantities of cash were also seized from addresses in King Street, Egremont, Wirral and Bridgefield Road, Belle Vale as part of today’s action. A dismantled cannabis farm was also found at the address in King Street and a CS spray was recovered from the address in Bridgefield Road. Clothing and helmets have also been recovered from addresses.
At an industrial unit in Blackburne Street, Garston, four vehicles were seized (a large quad bike, two motorbikes and a mini quad bike) and the owner of the unit was arrested.
The arrests and seizures follow an investigation into incidents on Sunday, October 2 where numerous calls were made to emergency services reporting up to 60 off-road vehicles driving dangerously across Merseyside, as well as incidents reported since this date.
Since October 2, 143 bikes have been recovered, 37 warrants executed and a total of 35 arrests have now been made. Following the arrests, leaflets were also distributed to local residents to encourage more information on where bikes are being stored, and to show the successes so far.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: “The groups of riders who took to the roads in October had a complete disregard for public safety, and we know that members of our communities are absolutely disgusted by such behaviour.
“I want to send a clear message to the people riding these bikes that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will continue to take positive action to seize those bikes we believe are being used in an anti-social, illegal and dangerous way on our roads. There has been a long-running and complex investigation into numerous reports of anti-social behaviour, including CCTV footage and images and I would like to thank people who have assisted. Action is constantly being taken behind the scenes in relation to these incidents, and we appreciate people’s patience as we thoroughly investigate each one.
“These actions are reckless and criminal and it is only through sheer luck that a member of the public, a police officer or one of those bikers was not seriously injured. Sadly, incidents before and since 2 October continue to show the very real dangers to pedestrians, officers, riders and other road users.
“We are determined to make our roads safer through all our available powers, and the continued response we have seen today is once again thanks to information provided by our community. I would urge anyone with information which enables us take these bikes out of circulation and make our streets safer to keep coming forward.
“I would also like reassure people that we are continually looking at innovative new approaches to tackle this problem, and held a conference this week with key partners to discuss future plans.”
Anyone with information on who is using these bikes and where they are being stored is urged to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.