OFF-road bikes and quads seized by Durham Police have been destroyed as a part of a crackdown on people who ride them illegally and anti-socially.

The seven vehicles were seized across County Durham and Darlington as part of Operation Endurance – an ongoing campaign by Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit to tackle dangerous and antisocial use of off-road bikes and quads.

The bikes were either being used in criminality, ongoing anti-social behaviour or the owners failed to have the correct documentation.

Inspector Chris Knox, from Durham Police, said: “The illegal and antisocial use of off-road bikes and quads is a perennial problem across the whole of County Durham and Darlington, and it is something we are committed to tackling through our Operation Endurance campaign.

“Not only are these bikes a nuisance to law abiding members of the public, but many of them are downright dangerous and are in no fit state to be ridden at all. The riders of these bikes – many of whom do not wear the correct safety gear – are not only putting themselves at risk by riding the way they do, but they are putting other people at risk.

“We’ve listened to the concerns from the community and have taken action. I hope this sends out the clear message that if you continue to ride your bike illegally or antisocially on the streets of County Durham and Darlington, your bike can not only be seized, but it can be crushed too.”

Durham Constabulary has been working in partnership with both Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council, Cleveland Police and the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner to tackle the illegal and antisocial use of off-road bikes.

Acting Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Steve White, said: “I fully support this partnership approach across County Durham and Darlington which sends out a clear and robust message that dangerous, illegal and antisocial use of off-road bikes and quads will not be tolerated on our streets.

“These bikes are not toys and are designed for off-road event use only. With the festive season approaching, I urge people to think twice before buying one of these vehicles for their loved ones, if the intention is for criminal, illegal or antisocial road use. The bikes will be seized by police and crushed.”

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for stronger communities said: “Our Community Safety Team works closely with Durham Constabulary to tackle nuisance caused by off road motorcycles.

“However, we rely on information from members of the public, which is key in supporting us to catch those individuals who blight our communities with this type of anti-social behaviour.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “We do get reports of off-road and quad bikes being used in ways which are a nuisance to our residents and we encourage anyone affected by this kind of anti-social behaviour to report it to police on the 101 non-emergency number.

“We strongly support the action taken by Durham Constabulary in seizing and crushing these vehicles – depriving those who have used them anti-socially of the means of doing so again. We hope it acts as a deterrent to anyone else who rides without thought for others.”