Durham Constabulary has teamed up with petrol stations across County Durham and Darlington in a crackdown against off-road bikers who are causing a nuisance in their community.

The force receives about 3,000 reports of anti-social behaviour caused by nuisance off-road motorbikes and quadbikes every year and now it is working with petrol stations to educate the public that it is illegal to sell petrol to people under the age of 16.

‘Operation Endurance’ was launched in August last year in a bid to tackle nuisance off-road bikers. Since then, 16 bikes have been seized and a further 54 warnings have been issued.

Inspector Jon Curtis from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit who is heading up the operation, said: “If young people are able to access petrol, then they may be able to perpetuate anti-social behaviour by fuelling mini motorbikes. This is why our partnership with service stations is so crucial.

“Anti-social behaviour can have a huge impact on the quality of life for the communities in which it occurs.

“We sought the support of all service stations in the County Durham and Darlington area to ensure that all aspects of the Petroleum Act in relation to the sale of fuel to persons under 16 years of age are being strictly adhered to and enforced. The simple fact is that many of the off-road vehicles require petrol to run and any activity that minimises an offender’s access to fuel or makes the process of fuelling harder is likely to have an impact on their ability to continue causing anti-social behaviour.”

Durham County Council petroleum enforcement officer, Chris Matthews, said: “Petrol is a hazardous substance and we must ensure that it is not being sold illegally to or obtained for unsupervised use by children. Adults and petrol retailers must all abide by the legislation.”

Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, said “This topic is frequently raised by residents in the communities in I represent. People’s safety is our top priority and I am pleased that the police are working with local people because these vehicles are causing a great deal of nuisance in our communities.”

Contact your local neighbourhood officers or email opendurance@durham.pnn.police.uk to get in touch with the team.