Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, recently met with farmers and their families in the north of Doncaster district to discuss the growing nuisance of quad and off-road bikes.
The meeting was by video conferencing and the Commissioner heard first-hand accounts of what the farmers have to endure.
Bikers come onto the land, break down gates and fences, destroy crops, disturb wildlife and, in some cases, chase and kill animals such as hares and deer, often cruelly.
Dr Billings said: Commissioner said: “The farming community should not have to endure this kind of wanton vandalism and criminality. It affects people’s well-being and presents a serious threat to livelihoods. I will certainly think hard about the ideas the farmers put forward and what more we can do to assist.”
At the meeting he was joined by police officers from the neighbourhood team and the police roads team. They spoke about how the police had responded to the growing nuisance of quad and off-road bikes by creating a full-time police team of bikers. They had already had some success.
Recently in the Hatfield area there had been numerous seizures of bikes with fines issued and some arrests made. The Commissioner confirmed that additional funding had been put in the budget for this work to be expanded during this year and more officers were being trained to deal with rural crimes. A Rural Crime Team is also being established that will be based with the Mounted Team at Ring Farm, Barnsley.
But the main problem was that neither the neighbourhood officers nor the bike team could be everywhere.
The meeting also discussed the possibility of bringing in nationally a system of licensing for quad bikes, rather as certain types of drone and shotguns were licensed. The farmers had already spoken to their local MP, Ed Miliband about this and the Commissioner said he would follow that up.
“I would like to thank everyone at the meeting. We had a very productive and useful discussion and have said we will meet again in a few weeks to see what progress we have been able to make.”