OFF-ROAD bikers who are exploiting county boundary lines to effectively evade police will be tackled - after neighbouring forces vowed to take action.

The spotlight has fallen on Royston given its on-the-border location where criminals have allegedly used farmers’ fields to escape South Yorkshire.

Nearby Notton, which is under West Yorkshire Police’s jurisdiction, has become a priority for officers given spiralling amounts of off-road bikers being reported.

The Chronicle understands the issue is also the same in Shafton, which also shares a county boundary with South Hiendley and Ryhill, which both are the responsibility of West Yorkshire Police.

Officers have launched ‘Operation Musician Bravo’ - forming a so-called ‘battle group’ of neighbourhood police, traffic cops and marked and unmarked vehicles - in response to concerns which have caused damage to farmers’ crops.

It means more targeted action operations will be carried out, as will cross-border work due to farming land often spanning across two counties in semi-rural locations.

A meeting about what is being done will be held by police in Notton on January 30.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “We will increase patrols in both Notton and Ryhill areas and run operations at these locations.

“We will seek support from colleagues in the off-road bike team, taking positive action against offenders.

“We continue to conduct traffic operations, targeting areas identified by the local community, residents and councillors.”

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings urged members of the public to continue reporting their sightings.

“A small number of people with quad bikes are wreaking havoc across Barnsley’s countryside - on a regular basis, crops are destroyed, fences and gates damaged and time and energy has to go into trying to block and then unblock gateways in an effort to keep the bikes out and carry on farming.

“Wildlife, such as hedgehogs and partridge, simply disappear from those areas set aside to encourage native species.

“We have to find a way of stopping this devastation before harassed farmers are forced to give up - we cannot have a small group of people holding farmers to ransom in this way.

“If you see off-road bikes being driven in a dangerous or antisocial manner or using footpaths and private land, please report it via 101 or online via the website.

“The police’s off-road biking team is highly valued and rated.

“The presence of police on motorbikes, nimbly going where officers in cars can often not go, is highly disruptive and acts as a considerable deterrent.

“Despite the squeeze on the public finances that we fear is coming, I hope we can see the biking team enhanced.”