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Peewee effort earns award; JOINT ACTION TO BE RECOGNISED FOR CUTTING CRIME.

A JOINT police and community operation to curb the menace of peewee bikes in Coventry is in line for a national award.

The miniature motorcycles, originally intended as children's toys and therefore outside normal traffic laws, were increasingly being misused.

Many were stolen and were often ridden with no regard for residents.

The peewee problem escalated in Wood End and Bell Green, which historically had suffered from youths recklessly riding off-road motorcycles, and spilled over into Longford Park.

But an initiative involving the police and Coventry City Council's Action Against Crime Team and Area Co-ordination North-East has virtually wiped out the problem, leading to a nomination for a CGU Award for achievements in crime reduction.

This is an annual national award scheme to recognise community projects which have made a big contribution to tackling specific crime problems.

The law governing the use of such small bikes is unclear, with riders having no need of a driving licence or insurance. The peewee bikes can also be ridden on the pavement without fear of prosecution.

A poster campaign illustrating the dangers of off-road riding, particularly on peewees, was launched in March and the city council's Action Against Crime team purchased three 400cc off-road motorbikes to enable police to go in pursuit of the peewee riders.

Cllr Tom White (Lab, Henley) lead member, Community Wellbeing, said: "The bikes have proved a worthwhile investment. People feel much safer now and the off-road patrol has been an outstanding success, with six arrests and 10 stolen motorcycles worth pounds 9,000 being recovered in the last two months."

Nerissa Jones, vicar of St Chad's, in Wood End, also applauded the project.

She said: "This time last year, it was absolutely hell. They were riding five abreast down the street, whizzing down entries and riding without lights after dark.

"I also saw adults ferrying small children and I told them I did not want to conduct funerals for babies."
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Author:Hall, Paula
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 29, 2000
Words:322
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