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Makeshift motorbikes 'a deathtrap'

POLICE fear a child could be killed due to youngsters' passion for riding makeshift motorbikes.

POLICE fear a child could be killed due to youngsters' passion for riding makeshift motorbikes.

Officers are urging people to inform on youngsters riding off-road motorcycles, some of which change hands for just £5 each and are potential deathtraps.

A month ago, a 15-year-old boy was rushed to hospital with a suspected fractured skull after an accident at Greenfields Park in Winsford.

Police are concerned a more serious accident could take place, involving either the rider or a passer-by.

Complaints about the motorbikes currently account for a third of all nuisance calls received by police. PC Ian Heywood, of Congleton and Vale Royal Division, said the complaints fall into two types -­ noise disturbance and the risk of danger to passers-by.

He said: 'Some of these bikes are very noisy but there are other issues as well such as the danger to life.

'We are getting complaints from people walking with dogs or children and suddenly a screaming motorbike comes past them at speed. There is a very real chance this could result in injury.

'These bikes range from proper off-road scramblers to old motorcycles with the bits stripped off.

'Some of them change hands for as little as £5 and are not road-worthy, the brakes don't work and so on, so it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident.'

The teenagers are also trespassing on private land, where police cannot prosecute. But council environmental health officers do have the powers to impound trespassers' vehicles.

One of the main problem areas is at land at Lostock in Northwich, but the problem extends throughout Mid Cheshire.

In Northwich, trouble-spots include Hartford College, Blackcroft Avenue and Tunnel Top at Barnton, the public footpaths along the Weaver Navigation at Castle, and the area around the Dane Valley at Rudheath.

Over the next few weeks, the newly-formed police community action teams will be targeting problem areas at Lostock, Rudheath, Castle, Greenbank, Hartford and Winsford. Officers will be encouraging members of the public to ring the police and identify the youths responsible.

PC Heywood said: ' We are not looking to hassle these kids, we are just trying to make sure no one gets hurt.

'Our partnership is currently exploring the provision of a site where off road motorcycling activity can take place without inconveniencing or endangering residents.

'It is unlikely such a site would achieve a recognised status because of insurance issues in relation to owner liability, but it might provide a facility for informal use on the understanding that the riders accept the risk involved or take out personal or third party insurance themselves.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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