A new police operation is helping track down offenders on stolen dirt bikes from the air, as the ongoing issue causes concern for police.
Geraldton police have started a five-week trial plan using drones and drone pilots to monitor dangerous off-road motorbike riding.
Officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Chris Martin said the theft and dangerous use of dirt bikes was an increasing problem, and the vehicles were often targeted in burglaries because they were quick to start and provided a quick getaway.
He said the inquiry team at the station had been working overtime to retrieve and return stolen property to residents.
“They’ve returned a lot of property to those who’ve had it stolen,” he said.
Sen. Sgt Martin said police have seen a slow rise in incidents of stolen motorbikes since the start of the year.
“It has been on our radar since around January and I’m glad to see an operation ongoing with our drone pilots and inspectors,” he said.
“Those who have been riding dirt bikes around Geraldton are on notice and subsequently we have charged six people with dangerous riding.”
Sen. Sgt Martin said police were aware a lot of careless riding took place in the back blocks between Wandina and Rangeway.
“What I can say is, they (offenders) are often very surprised when they see police come knocking on their door after they park the bikes up,” he said.
“And when they go to court, we’ve even got some footage there to show them.”
Sgt Martin said it was common on a Monday morning to find four or five bikes confiscated over the weekend which had been stolen or driven carelessly. He said drones were a fantastic way to catch these people without putting lives at risk as “there’s no way to hide from a drone”.
“The drone pilots, let me tell you, are out every day. Dangerous dirt-bike riding will come to an end very shortly,” he said.
Police reminded the motorbike riding community they were watching and urged them to ride responsibly, particularly around residential areas.