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Off-road bikes “ruling the streets” of Ely and Caerau

Bikers sprayed an elderly man in Trelai Park while he was walking his dog

Tracks in the mud from off-road bikes

RESIDENTS in Ely and Caerau are concerned over groups of bikers driving illegally and recklessly around the neighbourhoods.

One even believes some of the balaclava-wearing teenagers may be involved in delivering drugs.

Off-road bikes have been riding dangerously on roads and fields for years, despite council and police attempts to stop riders.

The bikers range in age from as young as 10, to men in their 20s who weave dangerously through traffic, doing wheelies and riding on pavements on dirt bikes.

Resident Helen Grennen-Howells, 42, said: “My nephew last year was riding a quad bike down Cowbridge Road and smashed into the back end of a bus and has now got life threatening injuries.

“He was 14 years old. He could have lost his life.”

Mrs Grennen-Howells, who grew up in Ely but now lives in Grangetown, believes there should be a designated track for bikers to go where they can learn to ride safely or attend safety courses.

She added: “I’m not against bikes, it’s a sport and should be embraced but they need somewhere safe to go. It wouldn’t eradicate the problem but it would help.”

Appeals for a race course were raised in 2015, but there are still no plans set up.

In 2016, police started a neighbourhood watch scheme called Operation Red Mana, which encourages residents to report to police with descriptions of bikes and the riders.

Leaflet for the Red Mana Operation by South Wales Police

PSCO for Caerau, Christopher Blatchford, said: “Off-road bikes are an issue and we have reduced them quite a lot in the last few months. We are trying to inform people to report the problem.”

Initially the operation saw dozens of bikes taken off the roads and crushed, however some residents have been hesitant to report bikers.

Caerau resident Victoria Stiff, 42, said: “In the upper part of Ely if you grassed someone up, your window would be put through.

“I walk my dog in the park but I can’t walk down there now where they go around with their scarves and balaclavas. I worry they’ll run my dog over or get hurt themselves.

“There is a real feeling that some of thee children involved are related to the drug movement. Some think they might be deliverers for drugs, it’s scary.” she said.

A Cardiff police spokesman said they had no specific comment to make on the use of off-road bikes in drug dealing but if people think it is taking place they should come forward.

Particular hotspots for riders are Trelai Park, along Cwrt-Yr-Ala Road and Westfield Park.

Pauline Southwood, 71, who lives by St Marys Field, said: “They rule the streets. In Trelai Park several weeks ago, they were on quad bikes weaving in and out of the football games in hoodies and balaclavas. They don’t care.”

Some of the off-road bikes look like this.

Peter Bradbury, Labour councillor for Caerau, is working with police to try to get illegal bikers off the roads.

He said: “It is a police matter – they’re breaking the law. The police need to do more, be more visible and push things at PACT meetings.”

Coun Bradbury also encouraged residents to go to the police and report names of anyone they know are illegally riding these bikes.

  • If you have details of any bikes or riders, please report to South Wales police on 101
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