When is a stolen bike not a stolen bike? When the “Theft” been thoroughly investigated by PC Tom Van Der Wee from Sussex Police it would appear…
Image from @PCTomVanDerWee
When police attended this fail to stop collision between a Honda CB125R and a Mercedes in February 2022, they found that the rider had fled the scene… so they visited the address of the registered keeper to find out more about the circumstances.
When a rider flees the scene of a collision where there’s a good possibility of injury, the police will attend the home address of the rider as they might need medical help at the very least. But on this occasion officers were met with a denial of knowledge and a report that the bike had been stolen earlier.
The registered keeper – George Argent from Lancing – maintained his innocence even though he had been seen by witnesses at the scene.
It was just as well that the police had gone to check on his welfare because he was displaying a visible injury. He was later arrested as officers investigated the collision and in doing so his mobile phone was seized and examined where, it transpired, he had been bragging to friends that he had been the rider all along and was giving the police a ‘hard story’.
Image from @PCTomVanDerWee
Phone examinations don’t happen overnight like on the telly; they take a while to get organised and completed. It’s the same with ID parades, which all have to be set up and co-ordinated by the investigating officer. And while an officer is doing all of this extensive work, they aren’t out on the street being able to deal with real bike theft.
“Argent was given every possible opportunity to tell the truth but continually lied” said PC Van Der Wee. “He thought he could outsmart us with a deliberately complex story, and bragged about this to his friends over text messages – ironically messages we ended up using as evidence.
“He went to great lengths to try to avoid being prosecuted for his involvement in the collision, which meant we had to carry out a number of enquiries that included organising two identity parades, checking CCTV and analysing his mobile phones.”
Argent, 18, of Tower Road, Lancing, was charged with perverting the course of justice, driving without valid insurance, and failing to stop at the scene of a road traffic collision.
He appeared before Lewes Crown Court on November 8 where he admitted the charges. The court ordered him to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) sessions as part of a 22-week suspended prison sentence.
He was also disqualified from driving for one year.
Images from @northumbriapol
In an excellent example of the police taking the fight to the doors of criminals, Northumbria Police ran a crackdown on criminality in the run up to Christmas.
They arrested five people across the county for offences such as burglary, theft of motor vehicle, possession of drugs and handling stolen goods. Amongst those five were a man and woman – aged 36 and 43 – who were also traced in Washington and arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class B drugs and handling stolen property. The pair were interviewed by detectives and have since been released on police bail pending further enquiries. A suspected stolen Piaggio motorbike worth £5,000 was recovered at the property, as well as £1,000 worth of Amphetamine.
Bike Cops from both Hampshire Police and Cheshire Police were keen to show their new unmarked bikes that they’ll be using form now on. Hampshire showed us their new BMW 1250 GS in black while Cheshire also went the black look on a BMW, but this time they elected for an S100RR.
Unmarked police bikes are an amazingly versatile piece of kit; they can be used in crime operations and obviously they can be used in road safety campaigns. Neither of the forces have shown the level of technology employed on the bikes, but expect calibrated speedometers and tiny HD cameras.
Images from @Northants_SRT
Although the bikes will have small cameras, the Northants Safer Roads Team has elected to go big and still use their existing cameras, though they’ve now changed the colour of the van from white with hi visibility stickers to grey. Plain grey.
So, while all a speeding driver will see is a grey van with its rear window open parked at the side of the road, the Safer Roads Team get the view above. If you zoom in to the photo, you’ll see a car in the distance… that’s the sort of distance that the video camera is able to get a reading at.
There are people who love to moan on social media that the police are being sneaky using these types of tactics to catch speeders and mobile phone users, but in reality, people who get caught speeding and using their phones when driving only have themselves to blame.
Images from @HantsPolRoads
Also only having themselves to blame are the two stopped on the M3 while riding their scooters.
The L plates give them away as one of the prohibited vechiles as spelled out in rule 253 of the Highway Code.
The list includes, amongst other things, holders of provisional motorcycle licences. Traffic cops can see what type of licence a rider – or at least a registered keeper – has without even stopping them, and to cap it all off one of the riders tested positive for cannabis as part of the force’s Operation Holly, which looks to be the Christmas drink and drug drive campaign in Hampshire.
At Christmas time, a lot of parents buy their kids or loved ones to an off-road bike so that they can go and have a great time at a motocross track... while others just turn a blind eye to the motorcycle that has mysteriously turned up at the house, often accompanied with a story of how that loved one got it.
If they’ve gone the correct route, then they will have also ensured that there’s a viable means of getting it to the track – either in a van or on a trailer – and their loved ones will have an amazing time riding amazing bikes in the correct environment.
If they didn’t, and their loved ones end up riding around the streets, goading the police and irritating the community, then their loved ones end up associating with or becoming the sort of people who have cannabis, ride stolen bikes, get ‘red dotted’ by officers with tasers and become the subjects of tactical contact.
The rider of the green bike above goaded the police in Kent and then tried to make off on foot across fields where he was ‘red dotted’. That doesn’t mean the taser was fired, just that it was drawn and pointed at the offender, the red dot marking the area where the taser barbs would go. Cannabis was also found during the subsequent search.
The rider of the orange bike was subject to tactical contact. Police in South Yorkshire used their cars to stop the riders who also had no licence or insurance.
It was the same again in Hampshire where two bikes were stopped, including the red Honda on its side. Police used the hashtag #tacticalcontact on their social media. One bike was reported as stolen and enquiries are in progress regarding the other.