Safety fears as young motorcyclists race through Niddrie sports ground

Motorcyclists have disrupted football training at the Jack Kane Centre
Motorcyclists have disrupted football training at the Jack Kane Centre
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MANIAC motorcyclists are once again risking lives by racing through a city suburb, warn police.

Young yobs tore through sports fields at Niddrie’s Jack Kane Centre before heading to the nearby Fort Kinnaird shopping centre during Monday's rush-hour.

Specialist off-road police riders were scrambled to lie in wait but no arrests were made.

“It’s not the damage to the pitches that’s the problem, it’s the proximity to the kids,” said Brian Gunn, committee member of Edina Hibs, whose teams use the centre.

“They’re doing wheelies and standing on the seats, they’re not in control of the bikes.

“Only a month ago we had to cancel training because they were too close for safety. The adults were in a training game and they rode right through.

“It’s happened so many times, if something isn’t done they somebody will get hurt, probably seriously.”

Mr Gunn, who was working with the Helping Hands charity this week, said he was hopeful that new enclosed artificial turf pitches being built at the centre will help protect players.

Last year, more than £8,000 of damage was caused to football pitches at the centre after a day of motorbike mayhem led to 16 arrests.

Youths on four bikes and quads were seen racing between the centre and Fort Kinnaird at around 5.30pm on Monday.

Police have launched Operation Soteria over successive summers to crackdown on the theft and antisocial use of motorcycles.

Inspector Colin Fordyce from Craigmillar Police Station said: “I am increasingly concerned about calls to the police regarding young people putting themselves and others at risk by riding motorcycles and quad bikes dangerously in our area.

“My primary concern is the risk to life itself, which is why Operation Soteria is a priority for me.”

Insp Fordyce confirmed specialist resources, including police off-road riders will be deployed, but also appealed for tip-offs from the public.

“I would appeal to parents, guardians and the public to help by reporting incidents to police so that we can ensure that our resources focus in the right areas, and knowing where their children are,” he said.

"As the schools finish for summer and many young people enjoy their breaks, it is vital that those involved in this sort of criminality are identified and traced.

"If you’re aware of any of the young people involved in this activity and you’re able to speak to them directly, then please make sure that they are fully aware or the risk they are posing both to the community and to themselves.

“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes are dealt with as robustly as possible.

“I would ask anyone with information regarding this kind of behaviour to share that information and help us keep the residents of Edinburgh and our visitors safe.”

Anyone with information about motorcycle crime or the dangerous use of motorcycles or quad bikes can speak to officers confidentially and anonymously on 101, or though Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.