POLICE are now flying drones following reports of motorbike nuisance.

In a bid to capture riders, bikers and the routes they are taking, officers in Shirley have linked up with country watch colleagues to catch anyone committing offences while on bikes.

Drones were released after several reports of nuisance took place in the Shirley area.

The drone scheme has also been linked to Operation Torque, which aims to reduce the amount of motorcycle nuisance and illegal riding in Southampton.

With help and information from residents in the community, officers have been able to successfully prosecute 60 offenders as part of the operation.

The scheme was launched in 2016 for Southampton West, covering Millbrook, Shirley, Coxford, Freemantle, Redbridge, Lordshill and after its success, was since adopted by Southampton East.

As part of the operation, information from residents has been vital, with police regularly appealing for help identifying offenders with descriptions and images.

However, despite the sixty prosecutions since 2016, many offenders escape punishment after ride off from the scene when police arrive and “there are very few occasions” where officers have been able to “safely pursue” them.

Councillor Dave Shields, cabinet member for healthier and safer city, said: “Operation Torque has the full support from local councillors on the west of the City and I would like to thank Insp. Paul Southam and PC Simon Peacock for their commitment to this.”

This comes as a “PROLIFIC” shoplifter who tried to escape police by hiding in undergrowth was caught out when specialist officers tracked him down using a drone.

Peter Sidney Rosher was wanted for escaping lawful custody on July 25 last year, an assault and series of shoplifting offences, when officers stopped him in the early hours of Wednesday, February 26.

Rosher stopped his Ford Focus in Thornhill and tried to escape police by hiding in dense undergrowth.