Operation Red Mana. Image: Cardiff Council.

Police tackling off-road bikes in Ely warn owners the vehicles could be crushed

They are a danger to pedestrians and some are thought to be used by criminal gangs

OFF-ROAD bikes ridden round the streets of Ely face being crushed as part of a special police operation to crack down on anti-social behaviour and criminal gangs.

As part of Operation Red Mana, officers confiscate vehicles if they are uninsured or not registered with the DVLA for use on public roads.

If the bikes are not claimed from police custody, council workers drain them of all fluids and they are then crushed and recycled.

Officers from the Anti-Social Off-Road Team were on patrol in Ely last weekend. One of their concerns is that the off-road bikes are being used to assist organised crime.

On January 29, a neighbourhood policing team seized a Surron motorbike and suspected stolen quad bike in the area and arrested the rider for possession with intent to supply controlled drugs, disqualified driving, and driving with no insurance.

South Wales Police launched Operation Red Mana as a neighbourhood watch scheme in 2016.

“We know this is a massive issue for the community,” Inspector Jeff Lewis said in 2021. “Someone could be hurt by these bikes which are being ridden at high-speed.”

Some of the off-road vehicles that South Wales Police have claimed around Cardiff.

Ely resident Tony Williams, 19, said this week that Bishopston Road where he lives is a hotspot for bikers to meet.

“They come flying around – sometimes into oncoming traffic – and on pavements. If they hit a pedestrian, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say the pedestrian will come off second best,” he said.

Other streets believed to have been regularly used by the riders include Grand Avenue and Bishopston Road.

Resident Tony Williams, 19, worries that a biker will hit a pedestrian.

ASORT patrols use scramblers, quad bikes and aerial drones to pursue the riders. A spokesperson said South Wales Police believed their “visual presence” was leading to a decline in the anti-social use of the bikes.

It is illegal to use off-road bikes on public land, including roads and parks. Cardiff Council has its own off-road team to help keep green spaces safe.