Police deploy plane in hunt for illegal off-road bikers in Stoke-on-Trent as you name and shame hotspot areas


Residents have welcomed a police operation to take to the skies in the hunt for nuisance bikers speeding through estates and beauty spots.

A distinctive blue and yellow aircraft was spotted circling above large parts of Stoke-on-Trent today (June 14).

Staffordshire Police later confirmed the plane was tracking down illegal riders putting lives in danger by tearing around parks, streets and fields.

It was deployed by the National Police Air Service as part of Operation Lightning.

A plane tracker showed it covered a huge swathe of North Staffordshire towards Smallthorne in the north and Caverswall and Longton in the south.

Now StokeonTrentLive readers have named and shamed the hotspot areas for anti-social riding across the city and further afield.

These include:

  • Berryhill Fields
  • Bentilee
  • Meir Hay
  • Park Hall
  • Fields by Carmountside Crematorium
  • Kendrick Street, Longton
  • Wetley Common
  • Smithpool Park, Fenton

The flight path of the police plane

Dawn Parkes said: “I live in Meir Hay and we get them going up and down my street speeding with no helmets on. We also get quad bikes.”

Rachel Leese said: “There are always  bikes going up an down Bentilee. It’s not nice when you are trying settle a baby.”

Winifred Swindail also spotted the plane flying above Bentilee.

She said: “They are always biking across Berryhill fields and cutting through the estate.”

Clare Trigger added: “There are often motocross bikes on Wetley Common. They scare the horse riders.”

Anita Frost-Butler has also experienced problems where she lives.

She said: “The plane needs to come a little more south and watch Kendrick Street too. We always have idiots on bikes up and down the road.”

Margaret Richards said: “The police want try over Tunstall and Packmoor. There are bikers with no helmets on speeding. There’s also quadbikes with two people on.”

The police plane was hunting down illegal bikers

And Nigel Millward added: “It’s not a joke when you get bikers flying up and down your street pulling wheelies and doing way above the speed limit. It only takes one of them idiots to lose control.”

Paula Wilcok welcomed the operation, saying: “The plane seemed to be getting lower, circling in fairly small circles. I hope the police got the evidence they needed.”

But not everyone believes deploying a plane was a good use of police resources.

Matthew Vaughan said: “Have the police got nothing better to do? It  probably cost them more to have the plane in the sky just for a couple of kids. The plane is more of a nuisance.”

Speaking about today’s operation a police spokesman said: “The plane is on the look out for nuisance bikers. The reason onlookers will have seen it circling is that they are tracking where a biker goes.

“It will follow where they go and they will then receive a knock on the door later today.”

Speaking about Operation Lightning, Chief Inspector Mat Derrick, who heads Staffordshire Police’s roads policing unit, said: “We hope that this on-going work as part of Operation Lightning will lead to a reduction in the number of reported incidents of illegal off-road motorbikes being ridden in a poor and anti-social manner across Staffordshire, and offer reassurance to the local communities affected.”





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