NEW drones set to be used by Northumbria Police to tackle the scourge of motorbike disorder have been described as “absolutely amazing”.

In parts of Northumberland, anti-social behaviour caused by the illegal use of off-road motorcycles has reportedly left some residents too scared to leave their homes. More than 1,300 cases were reported in 2023 alone, with Ashington the worst-affected town in the county.

In October, Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness unveiled plans to utilise drone technology to track down criminals, with the eight “eyes in the sky” set to be deployed to hunt down motorbike disorders.

Hexham Courant: The new drone that will be used to tackle crimeThe new drone that will be used to tackle crime (Image: Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner's Office)

Officers on the ground are unable to give chase for fear of causing danger to both the rider and the wider public.

The commissioner was in Ashington on Monday (February 26) at a demonstration of the new technology. Ms McGuinness said: “It’s important we find new ways to fight crime and drones allow us to relentlessly pursue criminals, protect the vulnerable, and reduce crime, wherever that occurs.

“They are our eyes in the sky will make a real difference in everything from catching criminals to improving safety at events, with intelligence-led policing at its heart. From search missions to the fast pursuit of offenders – they’re set to play a big part in future policing in our area.

“We’re already reaping the benefits tracking down offroad bikers – something that’s a huge priority for me and for Northumbria Police. With drones up above, these riders really do have nowhere to hide and officers on the ground are telling me they’re a real game changer. Drone technology brings speed, access, intelligence and hopefully this investment will bring more prosecutions too.”

The drone in question is to be deployed across south east Northumberland, covering towns such as Ashington, Bedlington Blyth and Cramlington. Labour’s Cllr Lynne Grimshaw, who represents Ashington’s Bothal ward, was full of praise for the devices.

She said: “They’re absolutely amazing. One of the officers who attended put it in the air and the quality of the footage was magnificent.

“They’re going to be an asset for the police force. The clarity is amazing, it could see for miles, it is fantastic. The police officers were delighted.

“Cllr Brian Gallacher and I have been working with police to get these because there is a lot of issues around the riverside in Ashington, but it is for the whole of the town and the wider area.

"Motorbike disorder is a real issue and these drones will be able to pick up a lot of anti-social behaviour.

“It’s wonderful – we’re getting positive feedback from the public which is good.”