Drone-cam catches moment cops corner lout bikers
West Midlands Police has released video footage taken from on-board one of its new fleet of drones showing a group of off-road bike louts running amok in a Coventry industrial estate.
The drone’s high-definition camera captures the riders pulling wheelies and driving at speed along public roads at the Seven Stars business park − and trying in vain to find an escape route on realising they’d been cornered by cops.
More than 20 people were detained at the scene and nine bikes recovered − seven of which were later shown to be stolen − in the operation prompted by a flood of complaints from industrial estate staff and the wider public.
The suspects will return for questioning at a later date and potentially face charges of causing a public nuisance − an offence that can carry a prison sentence.
West Midlands Police Inspector Andy Bridgewater said evidence from the force’s new ‘eyes-in-the-sky’ will help secure vital evidence against offenders.
He added: “The drones give us a great vantage point from about 400ft and, as this footage shows, provides great quality footage which will help us secure convictions against offenders.
“Some businesses on this estate operate 24-7…staff have been intimidated by the actions of these riders and it’s causing issues for work vehicles and deliveries.
“Most of the bikes are being driven through Coventry to this site by people wearing face coverings or balaclavas, pulling stunts in the streets, riding on pavements, and directing traffic as though they own the roads.
“On some weekends we’ve been getting up to 60 calls from concerned members of the public living in and around the area.
“It’s not acceptable and we’ve taken decisive action; anyone who behaves like this needs to understand that they could end up being arrested, put before the courts and possibly jailed."
West Midlands Police’s new drone capability has been funded by almost £29,000 from the Proceeds of Crime Act − that’s cash recovered from criminals at court.
Seven officers from the Force Support Unit are now qualified as ’pilots’ and fully versed on the safe and legal use of the equipment, including strict restrictions on not being flown too close to residential properties.
The West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, added: “The new drones have only been in action a matter of weeks and already they are playing a vital role in fighting crime.
“I’m delighted officers will be able to use the new high tech devices to gather evidence and hopefully bring about a successful prosecution.
“What’s more, it’s great that I was able to pay for them using ill-gotten gains seized from criminals."
To see what the drones have been up to, follow @dronewmp on Twitter.