POLICE have seized bikes and made arrests during a crackdown on the motorbike menace plaguing Southampton housing estates.

The tough action comes as residents fear for their safety following a spate of incidents across the city.

As a result police launched Operation Torque in a bid to get the “reckless” bikers off the streets.

Since it was launched, police have brought action against 38 riders while also seizing 13 motorcycles and recovering five stolen bikes and returning them to their owners over the last 12 months.

As well as this, seven people are currently awaiting trial or sentencing for illegally driving motorbikes.

It comes after residents told of their fears of the illegal motorcyclists

Steven Pinckney, who lives in Millbrook Towers, said: “These motorcyclists are always out every afternoon between 3pm and 5pm driving like bananas.

“I just worry that something won’t happen until someone gets killed. They’re so dangerous and they’re driving their bikes illegally across parks, without insurance.

“There are kids in the park who could be hurt.”

Hampshire Constabulary has appealed for information about various bikers causing problems in Redbridge, Millbrook and Lordshill.

Last month officers tried to identify two motorcyclists who caused significant damage to Mansel Park and its football pitch.

Meanwhile a moped drove the wrong way up Lordswood Road, close to the junction with Hill Lane, on the same day.

It almost hit a car coming in the opposite direction.

Neither of the men on the moped were wearing helmets.

PC Simon Peacock, who is in charge of the operation, said: “Most of the riders we have been dealing with have been riding illegally, without insurance or a licence and on a number of occasions have failed to stop for police.

“Under these circumstances issuing a Section 59 warning has not been appropriate.

“In one case, we charged a 16-year-old boy with dangerous driving after he knocked a PCSO off his push bike.”

He added: “Nearly all of the seizures have been a direct result of community intelligence. I’m really pleased that witnesses feel they can come forward and tell us what they know, in confidence.

“Working together like this means we can achieve results efficiently and hopefully the community have seen a reduction in the problem.”

PC Peacock said that riders “make off at speed, often putting members of the public at risk” when they notice the police.

He added: “We do not to pursue vehicles that are driving dangerously that are likely to put the driver/rider, passengers, other road users or pedestrians at risk.

“From my experience, when these motorbikes see the police they ride off and have no regard for anyone else’s safety as they are only interested in escaping from us.”

PC Peacock said members of the public can take their own pictures of the motorcyclists acting illegally if they feel comfortable doing so.