People riding motorbikes illegally in the Cessnock and Kurri Kurri area are on notice.
The Hunter Valley Police District has renewed its efforts into addressing the region’s unregistered trail bike problem.
Since the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force on January 14 – which saw Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Police join the Hunter Valley district – police have seized 43 motorbikes that were being ridden unlawfully on local roads.
Many of these bikes were stolen, and after examination, have been returned to their rightful owners.
As reported in April, the Cessnock local government area had the second-highest rate of motor vehicle theft in the state in 2017, with 338 incidents (or 595.5 per 100,000 people).
And police say motorbikes account for a high percentage of these thefts.
Hunter Valley Police District Chief Inspector Peter Vromans said police have been working hard to recover stolen motorbikes in the Cessnock community.
“The owners have been very happy to get them back – some good quality trail bikes cost up to $10,000,” he said.
“For people who are using them properly and lawfully as a fun pastime, losing it would hurt.”
Chief Inspector Vromans advises motorbike owners to take basic precautions to ensure their bike is secure, such as storing it in a locked room or garage, not leaving the keys with the bike, and to consider additional security devices.
Chief Inspector Vromans said some of the motorbikes that have been seized were owned by people who had chosen to ride them illegally on public roads.
He said police have made an application to the courts to have these bikes forfeited.
“We are trying to use it as a deterrent to other riders,” he said.
“If people realise their bikes could be taken off of them, they might think twice about breaking the law.”
Chief Inspector Vromans said illegal trailbike riders can pose a danger to the public.
“A lot of the time, stolen bikes are being ridden irresponsibly and are not fitted with warning devices such as brake lights or blinkers,” he said.
“The riders take advantage of being able to go where cars can’t (such as footpaths).
“It can be a very dangerous situation.”
Chief Inspector Vromans said the police district will soon commence Operation RIDA, which stands for Report Illegal Dirtbike Activity.
In the initial phases of the operation, police will be appealing to the public for as much information as they can get.
Anyone who is aware of illegal trail bike activity in their area, or who has any information that may assist police in their investigations, is encouraged to contact Cessnock Police on 4991 0199 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.