A petition has been launched to bring a specialist off-road police unit to Bolton after issues with dirt bikes in the borough. 

Problems with the vehicles have been seen across the town, with vandalism of parks, reports of them being ridden on public roads and thefts of them

Now, political figures are calling for a policing unit which specialises in dealing with off-road bikes to be brought to the borough. 

Cllr Sean Fielding of Breightmet said: "We are putting a newsletter in Breightmet out, with a petition, it is being raised repeatedly all over the ward. 

"Areas in all parts of the ward are affected such as Leverhulme Park, Seven Acres Country Park and, although it isn't in the ward, Longsight Park is used by people from Top o' th' Brow - there are problems all over. 

"Flying up and down Bury Road, Deepdale Road, streets around Breightmet. 

"We want to at least try and do something. Short of going out and trying to catch them yourself, it's difficult to demonstrate any progress." 

The Bolton News: A vandalised field off Brodick Drive in BreightmetA vandalised field off Brodick Drive in Breightmet

Under the Police Reform Act 2002, officers have the power to seize off road dirt bikes that are being driven in a "careless and inconsiderate" way and is causing, or likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public. 

Cllr Fielding added: "When we found there was an off road specialist unit, we thought we ought to do everything we can to lobby that to come, there is a need for it. 

"There is a petition to get as many people to sign, to show a real appetite for that coming here from local people." 

Fellow ward councillor, Adele Warren, said: "It is a constant problem, we have been successful in the past in getting the off-road team from GMP. 

"We need residents to report it, as we are competing with other areas across the borough and across Greater Manchester for the team. 

"There are issues in Leverhulme Park, on the Bolton-Bury cycle path, where people feel threatened as they are walking and a noisy dirt bike comes up behind them. 

"It has been a problem for as long as I can remember." 

The Bolton News: A dirt bike which was recently caught in RadcliffeA dirt bike which was recently caught in Radcliffe (Image: Newsquest)

The petition, by Bolton Labour, is also supported by parliamentary candidate for Bolton North East, Kirith Entwistle. 

As well as aiming for the off-road unit to be brought to the town, it seeks to increase neighbourhood policing, with a named officer in "every community", and to make reporting of antisocial behaviour easier. 

To see the petition, visit https://www.kirithentwistle.com/petition/dirtbikes/

Cllr Rabiya Jiva, cabinet member for stronger communities, said: "There is an issue we are trying to tackle. I wouldn't say it is a borough-wide issue, it is something that exists in local hotspots, which the police are aware of and monitoring. 

"It is something the neighbourhood teams are working closely to try and mitigate. 

"Sometimes people know who has got these bikes and using them. It is about encouraging people to report, but they may not always want to come forward.

The Bolton News: Darley Park in Farnworth was ruined by off road bikes last yearDarley Park in Farnworth was ruined by off road bikes last year (Image: Tim Dabbs)

"I hope councillors will work with ward neighbourhood policing around this." 

Road safety charity Brake has also highlighted the issues with dirt bikes across the country. 

Lucy Straker, campaigns manager at Brake, said: “The illegal use of nuisance motorbikes and other vehicles in and around towns and cities across the UK is having a negative impact on communities.

"Its worrying how this type of behaviour is being fuelled by social media, seemingly glamourising young people driving or riding whilst filming on their phones with apparent disregard to rules and regulations.

“Dangerous and irresponsible road use can have devastating consequences, leading to injury and loss of life that sends shockwaves through families, communities and schools.

"As a road safety charity that supports families bereaved or injured in crashes, we know that the impact is felt for many years to come.”