Nearly 500 off road bike complaints

Tuesday May 2nd 2023


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Stuart Sommerville

Police received almost 500 calls about off road motorcycles in West Lothian in just nine months.

Chief Inspector Jocelyn O’Connor, the local area commander, told councillors the issue “continued to be a concern” in communities across the county. And she said new tactics and technology were being used to tackle the problem, and track down bikes and riders.

Police received 473 complaints by the conclusion of the third quarter of the year on 31 December, 2022. Local community officers had organised action days and letter drops in communities most affected. The key things is identifying riders and tracking down motorcycles.

Police action days have produced some results. Last month a 37-year-old man was charged with multiple offences for riding an off-road motorbike on public footpaths and roadways in Whitburn.

The motorbike was also seized as a result of the alleged incident.

Chief Inspector O’Connor told councillors on the Community and Public Safety Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel: “Off-road bikes continue to be a predominant factor in West Lothian, particularly on the Winchburgh Bings and other private land.

“We have now got Selecta DNA spray, which is a new tactical option for us. We have just taken delivery of that.

“That allows us to spray the bikers and their bikes with this spray, which isn’t visible under the naked eye, but allows us to identify perpetrators and bikes later on.”

She said she expected to provide more details of the results at the end of the fourth quarter to the next meeting of the PDSP.

Almost 300 people responded to a report on quad and motorbikes problems on the council’s social media page.

Winchburgh bing is a popular site for riders attracting motocross riders from across the country and as far south as the north of England.

But the greatest problem is in the streets and footpaths of communities across the county. A community police officer was forced into early retirement as a result of injuries he suffered being struck by a motorcycle four years ago.

There have been problems in Livingston, Whitburn and at Black Moss in Armadale.

Another issue of anti-social behaviour the police have been tackling has been bus vandalism especially in outlying villages.

There have been incidents in Blackburn and Fauldhouse. Local community officers started boarding buses.

Chief Inspector O’Connor told the meeting: “In a continuation from Quarter 2, a further day of action was carried out along with Lothian Country Buses during Quarter 3.

“Known as ‘Gateway Checks’ officers used the bus network from outlying towns and villages that were destined for our larger town centres such as Livingston and Bathgate where regular complaints of youth ASB [anti-social behaviour] are being reported. Officers positively interacted with young people whilst using the bus network.

The inspector said: “We continue to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour in its various forms with our partners. By the conclusion of the third quarter, 6,422 incidents were reported to Police. ASB remains a volume complaint, however reporting levels are showing 18.39% below the five year average, which is both positive and welcome.”

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