TWO operations conducted by Northumbria Police are working to tackle motorbike disorder in the Tyne Valley area of Northumberland.

Officers are focusing on Slaley and Wark forests as well as Wylam in Prudhoe to tackle what is described as both a national and force-wide issue.

A freedom of information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service found that there were more than 1,300 cases of motorbike disorder in the county last year.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting (March 19) of the Tynedale Local Area Committee, Neighbourhood Inspector Kate Benson explained the situation in the area.

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It followed a question from Haltwhistle councillor Ian Hutchinson, who asked what the police had in place as the weather improves.

Insp Benson said: “Motorbike disorder is a force-wide and national issue. We have already conducted two operations.

“We have our rural officers looking at Wark Forest and Slaley Forest. There are byways there unlike Kielder where bikes aren’t allowed at all.

“Then you have the urban operation where there are issues in Prudhoe, Horsley and Wylam. They also go into the woods as well.

“We’re building the intelligence. Sometimes we’re hamstrung by legislation – we can’t pursue them and put them at a significant risk of hurting themselves.”

Cllr Hutchinson also raised concerns about on-road bikes. The councillor identified an issue with riders travelling via his ward to the Hartside Pass in Cumbria and back.

Insp. Benson said officers were working with colleagues in Cumbria Constabulary to tackle the issue.

In September, Northumbria’s new chief constable Vanessa Jardine branded the illegal use of motorbikes as “awful” and “dangerous” but confessed that they were “really hard to tackle”.

At a meeting of Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Committee, Neighbourhood Inspector for Cramlington Jonathan Caisley said he didn’t believe there was public “appetite” for cops to chase the bikes. 

He added it was “not worth” a child getting “taken out” due to a dangerous chase.