Arbourthorne residents applaud police over off-road bikes at meeting

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, and Sheffield councillor Jack Scott were at Wednesday night's meeting at Arbourthorne
Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, and Sheffield councillor Jack Scott were at Wednesday night's meeting at Arbourthorne
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Arbourthorne residents are heartened about eradicating an off-road bikers problem in their neighbourhood after a meeting with police on Wednesday night.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, joined Inspector Jason Booth and the off-road bikes team - plain-clothed officers who are tasked with catching the dangerous bikers - at the meeting.

Almost 100 residents packed into the Arbourthorne Social Centre on East Bank Road.

They entered baying for blood, but left applauding police for their efforts getting the unlicensed riders off their bikes.

One East Bank Road woman, who declined to give her name, said it was only a matter of time before someone was killed by the dangerous riders.

She described riders on quadbikes and motorbikes, tearing from Errington Rd, through her housing block’s car park and onto East Bank Road.

“They are going pretty fast,” the 73-year-old woman said.

“Sooner or later, someone will get killed.”

It’s at its worst on the weekend, when groups of about 12 riders, who look like they’re aged in their early teens, gang up.

“There’s a park at the bottom of the road, and they ride around that like it’s nobody’s business,” the woman said.

It has been a problem for, she said, at least the past three years.

“It’s gradually got worse and worse,” she said.

But, like many others at the meeting, the woman was optimistic about police making inroads into the problem.

She was impressed with the officers on the night.

“The questions people asked, they gave the answers, and it was brilliant,” the 73-year-old woman said.

“What the police said was brilliant. They haven’t got the resources.

“They’re doing their best at the moment, chasing the bikers.

“If they do catch them, they’re taking the bikes off them and squashing them.”

Arbourthorne Tenants and Residents Association chairman Derek Smith was pleased with the result of the meeting.

“It was brilliant,” he said.

“We had a really good turnout.

“I think Inspector Booth seems genuine. I think they’ve convinced us they’re making progress on bikes.”

Sheffield councillors Jack Scott and Ben Miskell were also at the meeting.

Coun Scott said he was pleased to see some robust debate and strong views put forward by his constituents.

“That’s what I’d expect, after residents calling the meeting,” he said.

“They had some pretty tough questions for police and council, and quite rightly.”

Dr Billings said: “We are determined to get on top of this serious issue and although numbers are stretched the police are beginning to make a real difference and people were very appreciative. I urge residents to report incidents and assist the police.”