Campaigners say off-road bikers are 'taking over our roads' as figures reveal thousands of incidents

An ITV Calendar investigation has revealed police forces in our region have thousands of complaints about quad bikes every month, but often they are powerless to do anything about it.

Freedom of Information requests were submitted to each force asking for the number of reported incidents involving bikes and motorbikes in the past six months.

The results revealed one force had up to 2,000 reports, but police were only authorised to pursue bikes on two occasions.

Cllr Wayne Dixon lives in Middleton - an area particularly badly affected by bikers. It was home to South Leeds Golf Club, one of the oldest clubs in Leeds, which has been forced to shut due to the damage and disruption caused by quad bikes.

He said: "I became a councillor because I wanted to campaign about this issue. They are taking over the roads. It can be quite scary - my wife has been followed home by quads and I have been shouted at in the street by people on them - when I was taking my 6-year-old son to a haircut.

"It's a persistent problem, people are fearful. I'm also fearful the lads on the bikes are going to get hurt too. It's become apparent they know that police can't chase them especially if they aren't wearing a helmet."

Killamarsh Dynamos, where England footballer Millie Bright trained, say their pitches have been blighted by bikes.

Chairman Mick Atherton said: "We are getting to the point where we are considering cancelling training because of it now. It's ruining the girls' training and it costs money.

"It only takes one accident. And we don't want the bikers themselves to be hurt either."

According to Deputy Police Mayor Alison Lowe, the issue of police pursuits is complex one, but she says a lot is being done to tackle it.

She said: "When we asked - one of the biggest problems was off-road bikes. Kids, with no helmets, going in and out of ginnels. Huge issue.

"When it comes to pursuing bikes, it's a really complicated issue. There's a legal process going on in the Met at the moment where a young person died after a motorcycle was followed."

She added: "But this is about protecting the public but also the police. We don't want young people who are on a motorbike - even though it's very annoying and dangerous - we don't want them dying because we have decided to pursue."

The complications have been laid bare by the figures revealed to ITV Calendar.

All forces in our region were asked how many incidents involving anti social behaviour and quad bikes/motorcycles had been reported to police in the past 6 months. They were also asked how many pursuits were made.

In South Yorkshire, the force said it had 668 incidents involving anti social behaviour and quad bikes and motorcycles reported to police, but its Roads Policing Group had more than 2,000 incidents reported directly to it every month. It could not reveal the number of pursuits.

Derbyshire Police said it 1893 incidents. Officers recorded 2 authorised pursuits in the same time frame.

Lincolnshire Police recorded 193 incidents. One pursuit was authorised. Nottinghamshire Police had 747. It could not reveal the number of pursuits. Humberside Police failed to respond.

West Yorkshire Police said it could not provide the figures bit it did offer to take ITV out during its Operation Heelfield which aims to combat the problem of off-road bikes.

In Calderdale, the local force has been provided with £75,000 of a £550,000 total fund secured by the Mayor of West Yorkshire.

Officers here received 300 calls about off-road bikes in the past month. But more officers have now been trained to drive motorbikes which can pursue more easily.

For when pursuit is not possible, there are now more forensic marker solutions, which can be sprayed on bikes as they pass, making them more easily linked to an incident.

There is also a drone which can keep bikers in vision until they return home, and more stingers to puncture tyres as bikes pass.

PC Stefan Lajszczuk said: "We understand the impact this has on people. One of the things is people can't sleep at night because of the noise. We are trying to eradicate this problem and its affect on people's quality of life by taking this bike off the road. We always need more of us - but we are making a difference."