Forecourts have escaped the kind of criminal behaviour which marked Halloween last year, despite a number of “ride out” events in the capital and in Leeds and Birmingham.
Last year motorbike gangs swarmed across several forecourts in London, stealing petrol and other goods, and the Metropolitan Police Service had warned owners to be prepared for similar disorder this year.
At 6.03pm, on Sunday October 30, the Met’s Emergency Response Team sent a message to forecourt owners warning them a large group of bikers was heading towards the centre of London on the A13, and that there were reports of several smaller groups elsewhere in London.
Police later reported that nine people were arrested following disorder and anti-social behaviour, and they said that due to the mobility of the riders and their broad coverage of London, arrests were made at a variety of different locations.
During Sunday evening, officers deployed tyre deflation devices against 17 motorbikes and three quad bikes and arrests were made for a number of offences including failing to stop, dangerous driving, suspicion of theft of motor vehicle, driving without insurance and disorder.
Superintendent Ade Adelekan, from Met Command and Control, said: “The recklessness of the riders involved endangered not only themselves, but other road users and pedestrians. This is totally unacceptable behaviour that tied up significant resources that could have been better employed in emergency situations elsewhere.”
In the Midlands, at least seven people were arrested and 10 motorcycles seized on 31 October as a gang of up to 200 bikers rode amok across public roads in Solihull and Birmingham.
The riders – many wearing face coverings – caused chaos as they sped along major roads, jumped red lights, weaved between traffic and pulled dangerous street stunts.
At one stage a police van came under attack and there were reports that some of the group hurled fireworks at other motorists.
Five men and two male youths were arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, causing a public nuisance and motoring offences.
In Leeds one man was arrested by detectives investigating an incident on Monday night, where a large number of motorbikes were ridden around the city centre and in Kirkstall Road.
Chief superintendent Paul Money, Leeds district commander, said: “The appalling behaviour that was witnessed in Leeds last night, when a large group of people on motorbikes and quad bikes rode into the city centre and congregated in Kirkstall Road with a complete disregard for the safety of the public, was completely unacceptable.
“Their actions caused significant disruption and nuisance in the area and members of the public were left understandably concerned. We received a large number of calls reporting dangerous riding and other anti-social behaviour by this group.
“Officers from Leeds District, supported by roads policing colleagues and the police helicopter, responded to the incident and were strategically deployed throughout the evening to provide reassurance and gather evidence. Kirkstall Road was temporarily closed in the interests of public safety and the majority of the group dispersed by about 10pm.”