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Nuisance bikers return to Mangravat, Maidstone

Nuisance bikers who made the summer a misery for many families have returned to their favourite haunts.

The bikers spent Saturday afternoon roaring around the Mangravet Playing Field, in Maidstone, leaving some residents in despair.

Mangravat Playing Field, Maidstone
Mangravat Playing Field, Maidstone

One lady, who asked not to be named, said: "Everybody is suffering.

"I was sitting indoors trying to watch TV, with all the windows closed – and I have double glazing – and I still couldn't hear my programme over the noise from the motorbikes."

She said: "It just goes on hour after hour."

In August, police hoped they had cured the problem, with Maidstone's Chief Inspector Steve Kent confirming that seven riders had been issued with community protection warnings.

Chief Insp Kent said at the time: "If their behaviour is repeated, formal notices can be issued, riders will be reported for any offences they commit and uninsured vehicles will be seized."

Cllr Brian Clark
Cllr Brian Clark

It is not known, whether the offenders are the same youths before – previously identified by residents as being aged as young as 15 – or a new group.

What is clear is that residents are once again having trouble reporting the issue to the police.
One Longfield Place resident, a woman in her 70s, said: "I dialled 101 on Saturday. The police never answered. I was connected for an hour and a half, just listening to the same recorded message.

"In the end I rang off. It just makes you feel so helpless, because there's actually nothing you can do."

South Ward Councillor Brian Clark (Lib Dem) said he was sorry to hear of the return of the bikers.

He said: "The end of the holidays and the colder weather seemed to have reduced the incidents for a while, but without further action the problem will continue to resurface.

The footpath beside Maidstone Cemetery which off-road bikers like to use as a dirt-track
The footpath beside Maidstone Cemetery which off-road bikers like to use as a dirt-track

He said: "I am working with the head of KCC’s public rights of way team who is considering my request for the installation of a barrier between the recreation field and Mangravet Wood.

"Kent Police have specifically supported this initiative, so I'm hopeful that this can be progressed."

The intention is to stop the bikers using the footpath from the playing field to Pheasant Lane.

Richard Hunt is the vice chairman of the North Loose Residents' Association. He said: "It's a wider issue than just Mangravat. Last Wednesday there were bikers in South Park off Armstrong Road.

"A lady tried to take their photo to report them to the police. They pulled their hoods over their faces and gave her a lot of abuse."

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