West Midlands Police have said that they made 7 arrests and 10 motorbikes were seized following chaos caused by a ‘Halloween Ride Out’ across the city last night (Monday 31st October).
And a senior officer has said that, after examining evidence gathered, they “will not hesitate to respond with more arrests and bike seizures.”
‘Halloween Ride Out’ causes chaos
Large groups of riders on motorbikes, scramblers, mopeds, quad bikes etc took to the streets of South & Central Birmingham and Solihull on a ‘Halloween Ride Out’. Many rode unregistered, uninsured bikes, some without lights or helmets. It was reported that riders – some wearing masks – were weaving through traffic, on the wrong side of the road, pulling wheelies at speed. Some also reported that fireworks were thrown by the riders and damage was caused to other vehicles.
The video above, taken by a firefighter at Kings Norton Fire Station, shows a large group of the riders travelling through Cotteridge and towards Northfield.
“Huge challenges for police”
Chief Inspector Jack Hadley admitted that dealing with the riders was challenging for the police. He said: “It is very difficult to plan for outbursts like this: it’s not a conventional, planned event and we saw small groups of bikers speeding off in all directions. It is very hard for officers to try and contain that activity.”
He said that ‘stingers’ were used to disrupt the riders but this had to be done very carefully and only in certain circumstances due to the risks to the rider and the officer deploying the device.
Chief Inspector Hadley said: “This wasn’t a rally of bike enthusiasts – this was loutish, criminal behaviour. Bikers were riding without lights, at speed, dangerously, pulling wheelies in the street, mounting pavements and damaging vehicles. […] with road users and pedestrians put at risk and a nuisance caused in residential areas.
He added: “This kind of ‘event’ is outrageous and totally unacceptable and I sympathise with any members of the public that were inconvenienced” and said that, depending on evidence from the event, more arrests would be made and more bikes seized.
On the night, five men and two male youths were arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, causing a public nuisance and motoring offences. A total of 10 bikes – including scramblers, mini motos and quad bikes were seized, with early enquiries suggesting that at least three of the them had been reported stolen.
Up to 100 masked riders surrounded a police van in Chelmsley Wood, kicking the wing mirrors and trying to smash the windows but they drove off when police back-up arrived.
Police also received a report that riders obstructed a fire engine trying to attend a call out.
According to the Birmingham Mail, a police van was bombarded with fireworks fired continuously from Balsall Heath Park.
Readers reported many other instances of antisocial behaviour locally in what seems to have been a busy Halloween for emergency services. One reader reported that a group of five masked people had been seen to smash car windows in Franklin Road, Bournville.
Over the last week or so, we have heard reports of stones and eggs being thrown at cars and houses, some causing damage, in areas including Longbridge, Selly Oak, Ley Hill and Weoley Castle. Last week lit fireworks were thrown from cars and at moving vehicles in Weoley Castle Square and Shenley Fields Road.
Tackling bike crime
West Midlands Police are tackling illegal and anti-social biking with a dedicated operation.
Chief Inspector Hadley said: “[…] earlier this year we arrested several people during a series of warrants and seized bikes. More warrants were carried out in the last few days – and a suspected gang ringleader arrested – and searches carried out in locations suspected of housing stolen bikes. I would ask members of the public to help us to target this kind of behaviour.”
West Midlands Police are urging that anyone who suspects that someone is using a bike illegally – or has a stolen bike – to report it by calling 101 or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111