CONCERNS are growing regarding off-road motorbikes and quad bikes ‘tearing up’ areas around Athersley.

At the two most recent Darton and North Area PACT meetings, residents raised their concerns over the amount of off-road biking seen around Athersley.

At the October meeting, Coun Sarah Tattersall raised the issue of a quad bike driving around Athersley North that was said to be not road legal, with other residents reporting multiple off-road bikes around Athersley South on local fields.

Luke Callaghan, 24, who walks his grandmother’s dog around Athersley, is concerned that the bikes could cause a serious hazard to elderly pedestrians.

“All of these off-road bikes and big quad bikes are racing down the public walkway and onto the main field in Athersley South.

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“This has torn up the field and left it in tatters, making the road increasingly slippery and hazardous.

“I, myself, have seen four or five young lads on these bikes racing around that field at high speeds.

“I just think about how dangerous this could be for my grandmother.

“I’m scared to go walking with her in case she falls or gets knocked over by one of these bikes.

“It’s a disgrace, I understand that the police are under pressure, but it should be monitored more at Athersley South before an innocent person gets hurt.”

A spokesperson from South Yorkshire Police said: “We know that off-road bikes are a problem for our local communities.

“We have a dedicated Off-Road Bike Team that support their colleagues across South Yorkshire to target those who use motorcycles in a criminal and antisocial manner.

“We are stronger with the support of our communities and continue to ask those who are affected by nuisance vehicles to report it via 101 or online through our website.

“Our Off-Road Bike team have recently launched a survey, aiming to gather residents’ experiences of off-road bikes and policing in their area.

“Please take the time to complete the survey and help determine where our resources are directed.”

At a recent PACT meeting, police said that off-road operations are currently underway.

It was also said that two further local PCSOs are trained to use 4x4 vehicles, which is a useful extra resource in accessing difficult areas or locations, that they will use to aid operations.