POLICE are turning up the pressure on illegal off-road motorcyclists in the Leigh area.

From this week, four officers on Suzuki DRZ 400 motorcycles will make regular patrols on the colliery wasteland off Plank Lane in an effort to combat nuisance off-road bikers.

Police are responding to complaints from residents about bikers not only causing noise pollution but also driving recklessly through residential areas when travelling to and from the parkland.

Sgt Shahid Rasheed said complaints about off-road bikers had risen 62 per cent in the past year.

There had also been a number of injuries involving bikers and people walking on the parkland.

The crackdown, Operation Camenca 2, follows an identical three-week operation last October.

So far this year, it has led to 14 arrests in Greater Manchester for offences including breach of anti-social behaviour orders, drugs offences, wanted persons, disqualified driving and theft of motorcycles.

A total of 27 motorcycles have been seized and 110 warnings were issued to people riding or thought likely to ride on common land and create a nuisance.

New powers under the Police Reform Act allow officers to seize off-road vehicles following warnings about illegal use. The owner of a seized bike can have it returned after paying a £105 recovery fee, plus £12 a day storage. Bikes can be destroyed if not claimed within 21 days.

Members of the public who have information which could help tackle this nuisance crime can ring GMP on 0161 872 5050 or anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.