Bikes and quads ‘being used to courier drugs’ on Sheffield estates, MP claims
Motorbikes and quads are being used by criminal gangs to courier drugs around Sheffield estates, a city MP has claimed.
The claim came after residents in Richmond complained that their lives were being made a misery by constant anti-social behaviour caused by bikes and quads.
One resident said that the problem is a nightly occurrence in the Hastilar Road South area, while another said she had once been trapped outside a local shop while several bikes rode around her.
Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said that while some of the anti-social behaviour was being caused by young people with nothing to do, some of the vehicles were also being used by drug gangs.
She said: “There have been issues around bikes and quads in the area for several years now and the community and police have been working hard together to crack down on those people who are really harming the neighbourhood.
“This approach has worked on the whole but we still have two types of problems: the first, young people who have very little else to do and are simply entertaining themselves and secondly, criminal gangs using them for dealing and couriering drugs.
“Clearly we need two responses for these different type of problems – a police response and a youth service response and I will continue to work with both to make sure that we get on top of the issue again.”
The issue of nuisance motorbikes and quads being driven in an anti-social way had been a problem for some time in several areas of Sheffield including Richmond and Woodthorpe.
The area around the Fishponds is a particular concern for many residents, with the vehicles driving past the Richmond Hotel and its surrounding shops dozens of times every night.
One resident who did not want to be named said he thought a greater police presence in the area was the only way to stamp out the problem for good.
He said: “Richmond is a nice area but South Yorkshire Police don’t show their faces enough.
“It can go on for four to five hours a night with up to 15 bikes and quads but we haven’t got enough police. They have got free rein.
“We haven’t got a regular beat officer for this area at the moment and the SYP off-road bike team has to cover the whole of South Yorkshire - so it is hard to get anyone here.”
The man said that he has been in touch with the local policing team on several occasions, but so far the problem had persisted.
“They say you need photos of them but you put yourself at risk - I am not filming them,” added the man.
“We want to get what we are paying for. Nothing is being done.”
The man’s wife, who also asked to remain nameless, said she had once been trapped outside a local shop by several bikers who rode around her, preventing her from getting home.
She said: “It has been getting worse over the last 10 months but I have never known it as bad as it is now and we have been here 13 years.
“You get home after being at work and it just makes you so anxious.”
When The Star visited Richmond, motorbikes and quads were visible in the area, with a quad with no registration plates being driven by a helmetless rider with his face covered causing particular concern.
Sergeant Kay Fitzgerald, from the Sheffield South East Neighbourhood Team, said the issue of off-road bikes and quad bikes being driven in an anti-social and dangerous way was something she was ‘acutely aware of’.
She added her team had recently established a problem-solving plan for the Richmond area, which was aimed at targeting nuisance bikes, burglary and anti-social behaviour.
She said: “As part of that plan, I am working closely with Great Places Housing Group and other registered landlords on the Richmond estate to increase CCTV coverage of the area. We’re also increasing the number of joint patrols where housing officers and other council officers join us on patrol. The aim of this is to increase visibility but also to identify where there are repeated issues.
“Over the coming months, you will also see more of our roads policing officers and our off-road bike team, who are going to be joining neighbourhood officers for operations targeting these vehicles. This team have a great track record in other areas, stopping offending vehicles and also seizing stolen bikes. Another part of what they do is educating young people about where they should and shouldn’t be using bikes.
“Tackling this issue effectively is about partnership working, between us and the authorities but also with the community. It is so important that you continue to report incidents, it might not be that we can act immediately, but the more information we have the more robust action we can take.
“In relation to the claims about drug supply, this partnership approach is again vital – you must report concerns to us, tell us what you know and what you see.
“For example, we recently executed a warrant in the Richmond area linked to handling stolen goods and drug supply – this was based on community intelligence. You can report concerns to 101, you can stop us in the street if you see my officers on foot patrol and you can also call the Sheffield South East Neighbourhood Team directly on the numbers on our website.”