Police confirms throwing food at motorbike riders terrorising Northumberland towns is assault after councillor's question

Irate residents have been warned not to throw “eggs and tomatoes” at antisocial motorbike riders after police officers confirmed doing so would count as assault.
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The issue came up following a question by Cllr Paul Ezhilchelvan at Wednesday’s meeting of the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Committee.

Northumbria Police neighbourhood inspectors Jonathan Caisley and Paul Davis were in attendance to discuss antisocial behaviour in the area.

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Northumbria’s new Chief Constable, Vanessa Jardine, has urged the public to help officers stop the problem by reporting the names of the offenders, but Cllr Ezhilchelvan said residents in his Cramlington South East ward had suggested a different solution.

Police are not able to pursue motorbike riders. (Photo by LDRS)Police are not able to pursue motorbike riders. (Photo by LDRS)
Police are not able to pursue motorbike riders. (Photo by LDRS)

He said: “Some residents in my area are so fed up, they have asked if they can throw eggs and tomatoes at them. Would that be allowed?”

Acting Inspector Davis confirmed that if residents did so, it “would be assault.” Cllr Ezhilchelvan said he would relay the warning to the residents who had asked the question.

Earlier, the police confirmed there had been 265 incidences of motorbike disorder since the start of the year in the Cramlington area, while Bedlington had seen 173 incidents in the same period.

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Cllr Malcolm Robinson, who represents the Bedlington West ward, raised concerns about one rider in particular.

He said: “There is a kid who rides up and down Front Street on his electric bike. It needs to be sorted out.

“He is either going to be physically stopped, or he is going to go into somebody’s car.”

Acting Inspector Davis said community intelligence was needed to deal with the problem. Inspector Caisley explained how police were unable to safely pursue offenders, and added that he did not believe there was a public “appetite” for cops to chase the bikes.

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He said: “We cannot chase motorbikes. There is not the appetite for chasing young people on bikes, and if it goes wrong there is outrage.

“The person will take more and more risks as they get desperate to get away from the police.

“The risk to innocent members of the community is just too high. I have seen it in the past, where people become more and more desperate, and some of the risks that people are willing to take are just too great.

“It is not worth a child or a member of the community getting taken out.”

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He added: “We really rely on community intelligence. We have had good results recently where members of the public have had information and been really specific, and we have been able to take action.

“We were able to seize three bikes in one night because we got some really good information.

“People see the kids coming out of the house on these bikes. The community are aware, and what we need is an address, which we can take anonymously.”

Inspector Caisley also criticised parents for buying bikes for their children.

He said: “It is disappointing that parents are buying these bikes for kids, knowing fine well that they can’t be used in a lawful way. Some of this is around educating parents.”