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Cops use DNA spray to tag illegal off-roaders

Blyth police in Northumberland are to be armed with DNS spray to tag illegal off-road bikers in a new clampdown. The official police info says:

Motorbike riders who are bringing misery to their communities have been warned they could face serious repercussions – with plain-clothed officers on the lookout for offenders.

Operation Swift was launched earlier in the year by the Blyth Neighbourhood Team to combat motorcycle disorder in the community.

The issue was causing concerns to both residents and officers as investigations found that a number of motorcycles involved were in fact stolen.

As part of the operation alongside Northumberland Council, officers will be using the ground-breaking DNA spray which has proved successful in South Shields, Gateshead and Newcastle which enables officers to tag offenders.

Cops will carry canisters containing an invisible water-based UV solution which can spray riders’ skin, clothes or bikes with a uniquely-coded dye.

Funded by Improving Croft and Cowpen Quay (ICCQ), the spray can help provide forensic evidence to link individuals or items to a specific crime.

Neighbourhood Inspector Neil Hall, one of the officers overseeing the operation, said it is yet another tactic to be used to tackle the issue and keep communities safe.

Insp Hall said: “We know this type of disorder and criminality can be of huge concern for residents and I want to reassure the public that we do take it seriously.

 “We have spoken to members of the community on this particular issue and are committed to working with partners to ensure anybody who does flout the law and brings misery to our residents is appropriately dealt with.

“There may be some who think these are just bored teenagers who have nowhere to ride their motorcycles, but that is not always the case. Many of the individuals involved in this type of disorder have been involved in serious criminal offences and a lot of the bikes are stolen.

“That’s why we are committed to taking a proactive approach in tackling this with plain-clothed and uniformed officers regularly on patrol in identified hotspot areas. The spray is a fantastic piece of kit which has already proven to be effective elsewhere in the Force to combat the issue.

“We’re extremely grateful to Improving Croft and Cowpen Quay (ICCQ) for funding this spray in Blyth, and would urge anyone who knows those involved in nuisance motorcycle riding to give us a call. They may also be involved in serious and violent crime in your neighbourhood.”

The operation has already seen a number of motorcycles seized and riders identified – but officers are not resting on their laurels and are keen to maintain the momentum.

Insp Hall added: “Operation Swift is about creating a holistic approach to the issue of motorcycle disorder and the DNA spray is just one of our methods.

“We will also be looking at preventive measures including engaging with those involved to educate them on the potential consequences of their actions and how their behaviour can impact others.”

Councillor Kath Nesbit, of Northumberland County Council, said “We are pleased to be able to work with Blyth NPT to provide this new solution to targeting motorbike disorder. This is something that is causing disruption, nuisance and misery for many residents of Blyth.

“Both ICCQ and Northumbria Police are committed to identifying and prosecuting offenders and improving the quality of life for all residents of our town”.

Last year, Northumbria Police launched Operation Benelli, a specialist task-force who review every crime where a motorcycle has been used to commit an offence or where a motorcycle has been stolen.

It has had a number of successes with hundreds of stolen motorcycles seized, dozens of people arrested and a number of convictions at court.

They will be working alongside neighbourhood teams across the Force to tackle this type of crime and target patrols where they find patterns of criminality. 

If you want to send pictures, video or intelligence to the task-force then you can do so by using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website. In an emergency, always ring 999.