Cops crack down on stolen off-road­ers

Manch­ester po­lice use en­duro ma­chines and drones to fight ris­ing off-road bike crime


Po­lice in the Manch­ester area are clamp­ing down on il­le­gally-rid­den off-road bikes in a bid to re­duce thefts, ac­ci­dents and prevent crim­i­nal dam­age. In re­cent years, Manch­ester and its sur­round­ing area have been in­un­dated by rid­ers on dirt­bikes be­ing il­le­gally rid­den both off and on-road. A high pro­por­tion of these don’t have an MoT or in­sur­ance and, in many cases, are stolen.

But it’s not just in­ner-city Manch­ester which has been af­fected. In the last few years the prob­lem has ex­panded into out­ly­ing ar­eas and towns like Bolton and Bury, too.

Now spe­cial­ist lo­cal po­lice forces are start­ing to crack down on these of­fend­ers in re­sponse to in­for­ma­tion re­ceived from the pub­lic. Greater Manch­ester Po­lice (GMP) al­ready have their own ded­i­cated unit of Honda CRF250-rid­ing of­fi­cers whose role is to pur­sue per­pe­tra­tors, seize stolen quads and dirt bikes and to give out warn­ings for in­ap­pro­pri­ate or in­con­sid­er­ate rid­ing. The force has also in­tro­duced drones to lo­cate sus­pi­cious bik­ers which then, by co-or­di­nat­ing with ground forces, can be stopped, their ma­chines seized and if deemed ap­pro­pri­ate, later crushed. They say one of the most com­mon places for stolen bikes to end up is ur­ban waste­land ar­eas and pub­lic parks. In re­sponse, GMP have now launched Op­er­a­tion Ca­menca which is in­tended to en­cour­age the pub­lic to in­form on per­pe­tra­tors, stamp out rid­ing in these ar­eas and so re­duce the at­trac­tion of steal­ing dirt bikes. “We have re­ceived a huge num­ber of calls about on-go­ing prob­lems with off-road bik­ers in these ar­eas,” said In­spec­tor Nicola Wil­liams. “And these are just those that have been re­ported. We are work­ing ex­tremely hard to com­bat the prob­lem but due to our lim­ited re­sources and ca­pa­bil­i­ties are un­able to stop them com­pletely. I there­fore ar­ranged for three of­fi­cers from Op­er­a­tion Ca­menca to join us and seize some bikes.”

‘We have re­ceived a huge num­ber of calls’ IN­SPEC­TOR NICOLA WIL­LIAMS

Op­er­a­tion Ca­menca is in­tended to cut dirt bike theft

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