Today (Thursday, 9 June), Merseyside Police is launching Operation Brookdale, our annual summer campaign to target the criminal and anti-social use of off-road bikes across Merseyside.
The operation, which will run between now and September, got underway with a strike day across the force, responding to community information on the suspected storage of illegal bikes.
Warrants were executed at 15 addresses in Huyton, St Helens and Wirral and searches off the properties are ongoing. So far five people have been arrested and six off-road bikes have been seized.
This is the fifth year of Operation Brookdale and during last year’s operation alone, more than 170 stolen vehicles were seized and more than 120 arrests were made for offences ranging from no insurance, or licence, through to drink / drug driving and possession of drugs with intent to supply.
Throughout the operation, Neighbourhood officers in Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Liverpool will be supported by officers from the specialist Roads Policing Unit, vehicle crime, the dog and mounted sections, and the National Police Air Service (NPAS) Helicopter. We will also be working closely with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, local authorities, and housing agencies, who will in turn be using their own powers and legislation to stop offenders in their tracks.
Merseyside Police Superintendent Jenny Sims said: “We understand the frustration and worry that people feel when they see reckless behaviour of off-road bikes. They pose a danger to pedestrians and other road users, and the consequences of their illegal use can devastate families. Parents shouldn’t have to worry whether they and their children can enjoy our parks and open spaces, but with your help and information, we can stand together and make your areas safer.
“Operation Brookdale will be focusing on areas where communities are suffering from the illegal and anti-social use of scrambler bikes, off road vehicles and quad bikes. We know from previous years that the summer months brings more reported incidents, we want our communities to see that as a result we will be putting extra resources when and where issues are highlighted.
“This morning’s activity demonstrates our promise that when the community gives us information on where these vehicles are being stored, we will take action. People who store them on behalf of others may face losing their home. People who use them illegally will lose their vehicle and their licence.”
Activity throughout the summer will include:
- Increased patrols in areas, including parks and other public land
- Enforcement of traffic law on the highway to restrict the activities of illegal riders on our roads
- Use of NPAS helicopter to act as an eye in the sky and monitor the movements of these bikes
- Use locally gathered intelligence to execute warrants where storage locations are identified
- Visits to petrol stations by officers and PCSOs
- Partnership work with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Local Authorities (including City Watch CCTV) and housing authorities
Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner Cllr Sue Murphy said: “Today’s strike day sends out a powerful message that Merseyside Police will not tolerate the anti-social and criminal use of scrambler bikes.
“People in Merseyside have repeatedly told us that these bikes are a blight on their neighbourhoods. I hope today’s crackdown and the launch of Operation Brookdale reassures our communities that Merseyside Police is committed to seizing these nuisance bikes and taking the criminals who are using them off our roads.
“The riders of these bikes are jeopardising their own safety and that of innocent road users and pedestrians and today should also act as a warning that they if they use these bikes in an illegal way they will be caught and may face prosecution.”
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Station Manager Franny Hill said: “Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service fully supports this initiative to help our communities become quieter, safer places.
“Our advocates will be encouraging anyone with information about illegal or nuisance scrambler bikes in their areas to contact Merseyside Police or Crimestoppers. We are proud to lend our weight to this campaign to help people understand the consequences of driving these bikes illegally or irresponsibly.”
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Housing, said: “The misuse of scrambler bikes is often associated with criminal activity and needs to stop.
“The illegal use of such bikes can really affect our local communities and we welcome the launch of Operation Brookdale with our many partners.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 999 if a crime is in action, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.