Trail motorbikes ridden by the police and paid for by criminals are having an effect on crime in North Yorkshire.

The two Honda CRF motorcycles have helped officers search for burglars in remote communities, target drug dealers and tackle anti-social behaviour.

The motorbikes are currently on a lease arrangement and are paid for through proceeds of crime legislation. This allows assets seized from convicted offenders to be redirected into crime prevention initiatives.

Officers are highlighting the new transport as part of Neighbourhood Policing Week, to draw attention to local policing and how it is delivered.

Police motorcyclist PC Chris Coleman, of Richmondshire Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "When I ride one of our trail bikes, I can cover large areas of countryside very efficiently.

Darlington and Stockton Times: North Yorkshire Police are using trials bikes to help in rural areas

"I can travel across terrains that other vehicles can’t, which is a huge bonus when you’re responding to crime and anti-social behaviour in such a rural district.

"We’ve used these bikes to make arrests, but when we’re on patrol residents are also more likely to stop you and have a conversation or share information than if you were in a car or van. They may only have two wheels, but they have dozens of uses."

Since the bikes were introduced earlier this year, the riders in Richmondshire have:

  • Searched for and found missing people in remote areas;
  • Attended reports of burglaries and searched for burglars;
  • Detained suspects who ran from police stops, including into parks and fields;
  • Taken part in community engagement events, including meeting families in Richmond Market Square, crowds at country shows and Christmas markets;
  • Attended remote, rural crashes quickly;
  • Helped to police the local night-time economy;
  • Targeted drug dealers and deployed to known drug-dealing hotspots;
  • Prevented illegal riding, taking part in off-road education events, and located and seized uninsured quad bikes;
  • Regularly patrolled Richmondshire’s communities, including very remote hamlets and farms and covered areas near schools at peak times to maintain road safety.

Rather than buying the two motorbikes outright, North Yorkshire Police is currently leasing them at cost from local company, AMR in Bellerby near Leyburn, who wanted to give something back to their community.

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The force has the option to buy them at a later date. Officers have also been given special permission to ride on some footpaths, including by Richmond Falls.

Darlington and Stockton Times: North Yorkshire Police are using trials bikes to help in rural areas

PC Coleman said: "The bikes are significantly cheaper to run than four-wheeled vehicles, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

"They give far better fuel economy, which is important in rural districts like Richmondshire where police have to cover large distances."

The force is gathering information about the effectiveness of the motorbikes, to be used to consider similar schemes in other parts of the county.