New summer crackdown on young motorbike joyriders

A crackdown has been launched on thefts with police fearing another tragedy could be caused.
A crackdown has been launched on thefts with police fearing another tragedy could be caused.

RECKLESS motorcycle joyriders are to be targeted in a new crackdown launched today across the Capital.

Police have joined with other agencies in the Soteria Partnership to tackle thefts of bikes over the summer holidays.

It comes just two months after the aunt of tragic Brad Williamson made an emotional plea in the Evening News for youngsters to steer clear of motorcycles.

Brad was killed after being thrown from a stolen bike when it collided with a car in Silverknowes Road last June – he was just 14.

“It is not an overstatement to say that the stakes for Soteria are high as demonstrated with the tragic death of Brad,” said Chief Inspector James Jones.

“There is always the danger that others could be seriously injured or worse as a result of this activity.

“By working together we can stop motorcycle crime and bring those responsible for these offences to justice.”

The partnership follows on from Operation Soteria – initially launched by Police Scotland last year following a rise in the theft of high-powered motorbikes.

Joining police are the city council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Nerve centres have been set up at Drylaw Police Station and the North Edinburgh Neighbourhood Office as part of the project.

Frontline officers, meanwhile, have taken part in events at Edinburgh schools to warn of the dangers of joyriding on motorcycles.

Kenneth Rogers, local senior officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The emotional distress caused by road collisions cannot be underestimated.

“They can devastate entire families as well as impact on our personnel who stand on the frontline and witness the consequences.

“We don’t want anyone to be involved in such incidents and do everything in our power to stop them from happening in the first place.”

Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to injury or even death, said Mr Rogers, especially when inexperienced riders on stolen bikes.

One of the aims of the partnership will be to improve rider behaviour on powerful machines in built-up areas, he added.

Becky Cropper, council family and household support manager, said: “The theft of motorbikes and related offences has become a real problem in parts of Edinburgh and one that I know is a matter of great concern to the local community.

“Vehicle theft has a huge impact on victims and can have tragic consequences too.

“We are committed to help prevent these crimes and to keep people and property safe.”

Anyone wishing to report motorcycle crime can contact the Soteria team at Drylaw Police Station on 101, or confidentially through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk