Dangerous cycling by large groups of children in Northampton town centre has prompted police to issue a safety warning and release CCTV images to try to identify those responsible.
Groups of up to 40 cyclists have been gathering in locations including the Drapery, Gold Street and Abington Street, riding on pavements, on the wrong side of the road, and through shopping centres, pulling wheelies and stunts risking their own safety and that of others.
CCTV images of a gathering on January 2 have been released by Northamptonshire Police today in an attempt to identify those involved so they can be given safety advice and warned about the dangers of their actions.
PC Michael Rogers, of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The behaviour of these youths is irresponsible and dangerous towards members of the public, other road users and themselves.
“They have little to no road sense at all, they cycle in a large group, totally ignoring the rules of the road, going through red traffic lights, weaving in front of oncoming vehicles, on the wrong side of roads and on pavements.
“I’m worried that it’s only a matter of time before somebody gets seriously hurt, whether it’s a pedestrian hit by a cyclist or one of the youths being hit by a vehicle.”
Vehicles have also been damaged by the riders, including taxis which have had wing mirrors kicked off, and buses often have their emergency engine cut-out button pushed.
Meetings of cyclists are often organised via social media, often through groups called ‘Bike Life’ or similar.
Most participants are aged between 10 and 15, with peak times for gatherings being weekends, after school and through school holidays, including the January 2 incident.
PC Rogers said: “Our team is trying to identify those responsible for this idiotic behaviour, however, when they see officers these youths usually cycle off at speed, avoiding us by riding over areas where we’re unable to follow on foot or in vehicles, so we’re using the town’s CCTV network to help us.
“To any parents or teachers who recognise a child as being involved, please have a serious talk with them about the risks they are taking.
"The alternative may well be us having to visit the family of someone injured or killed as a result of this kind of behaviour.”
Anyone with information about the identity of those pictured is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101.
Information can also be shared anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.