‘Serious problem’ with teens joyriding in Hastings as motorbike taken

Lee Mitchell SUS-160811-152222001
Lee Mitchell SUS-160811-152222001

A biker whose motorcycle was reportedly stolen by a group of teenagers believes there is a serious problem with joyriding youths in Hastings.

Lee Mitchell’s Honda MSX125 was nicked from outside his Edwin Road home last week and he watched the teens riding it around but could not stop them.

Lee Mitchell's Honda MSX125 which was stolen SUS-161011-160911001

Lee Mitchell's Honda MSX125 which was stolen SUS-161011-160911001

Police retrieved the motorcycle on Sunday (November 6) but the doorman believes officers did not do enough sooner and has heard from others whose vehicles were stolen in that area recently.

“It’s not just me, over the last few days several people around Hastings have been saying they’ve had their bikes nicked,” he said.

“It’s a really bad problem at the minute – I even watched them riding my bike. The police were dragging their heels. I appreciate the police are stretched and all that but three days of torment knowing you’ve spent all this money and a little kid can do what he wants with it wears you down.”

Mr Mitchell left his motorcycle outside his house at around 2pm on Wednesday, November 2, and went to take his dog for a walk.

When he returned an hour or so later, it was gone and he spent the next three days watching the youths riding what he believed was his bike around the neighbourhood.

The lights and other parts had been stripped off ‘to make it go faster’, and the teens had no helmets nor regard for speed, Mr Mitchell said.

The motorbike was bought second hand and worth a few thousand pounds but to Mr Mitchell it is worth a lot more as it is his only mode of transport and relies on it.

He hoped police would be able to get it back sooner but was left frustrated.

“The police are powerless to do anything anyway. A police car nearly knocked the kids over and they had ample opportunity to get him but they sat in the car instead,” he said.

“I don’t like slagging off the police as they have done a lot for me but sometimes they need to wake up.”

Mr Mitchell thinks action needs to be taken to stop these teenagers both from stealing vehicles and potentially hurting themselves.

“The police know that it’s happening in that area but they just don’t seem to want to do anything about it. It’s going to take a child to get hit or worse before something’s done,” he said.

Two people have been arrested as police have set up an operation to tackle motorcycle thefts.

A number of racing bikers have been reported to police in the Edwin Road area around the time Mr Mitchell claims teens were joyriding his motorbike.

Detective Inspector Anita Turner said: “We are aware of an increase in motorcycle thefts across the area and have set up an Operation Yamaha to identify and target offenders, and also to reduce the thefts through crime prevention advice.

“Two arrests in relation to motorcycle thefts have been made.”

On November 3, Mr Mitchell told police about the teens riding his bike, around the same time a dog walker spotted two bikers racing.

Three days later, another call about the racers came in and a PCSO saw them, causing one rider to drop their bike and run off before the officer could identify them, and the bike was Mr Mitchell’s.

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