This week I served on the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill Committee.

The Bill, brought forward by Greg Smith MP, serves “to prevent the theft of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) such as quad bikes. The Bill allows the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring immobilisers and forensic marking to be fitted as standard to all new ATVs that meet the definition set out in the Bill. In addition, the Bill provides the Secretary of State with power to make regulations on the recording of ATV sales (such as, potentially, a requirement to register ATVs covered by the Bill on an appropriate property database). The secondary legislation will define minimum standards for the immobilisers, forensic marking and the type of database which may be used. The Bill also provides a power for the Secretary of State to extend the legislation to other equipment designed or adapted primarily for use in agricultural or commercial settings, such as the construction sector.”

The losses that the farming community suffer from these thefts are terrible, and it is awful when criminals benefit from the subsequent sale of this equipment. But another dimension is its use for antisocial purposes, particularly in Easington, where quad bikes are being used to terrorise communities.

These individuals are using cycleways and cycle paths, and the police find it incredibly difficult to apprehend them, because they are really reckless in their use of these quad bikes. If, through the Bill, we can stop those individuals getting their hands on these all-terrain vehicles, it is to be welcomed, and I am happy to support it.

Tackling the antisocial behaviour of individuals using quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles needs enormous police resource, including specialist equipment and specially trained officers, because those involved ride them in a reckless fashion, endangering themselves and others. If we can do an early intervention, that would save a great deal of police resource that could be redeployed elsewhere.

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