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Police urge parents to stop 'bicycle ride-out' in Maidstone after video shows children cycling into traffic


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Police have called on parents to stop their children joining a "bicycle ride-out" this weekend amid concerns someone could be seriously injured.

The warning from Insp Mark Hedges, which has been tweeted out by Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, comes after a video showed a 100-strong group of teenagers recklessly cycling into on-coming traffic, performing dangerous and mindless stunts.

Police ordered the group to disperse, but despite their advice, a similar event has been arranged for Sunday, June 30 when riders are set to meet outside County Hall in Maidstone.

VIDEO: Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch says the situation is out of control

Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner has praised officers over their response to the anti-social bike riding in the town, which attracted waves of criticism from members of the public, stating that they were 'risking their lives'.

Mr Scott tweeted about the issue, saying: "I’m pleased to see that @kentpolicemaid have written to parents and schools about this and are taking action."

Attached to the post is a copy of a letter sent to parents in the town, signed off by Insp Mark Hedges from the Maidstone Community Safety Unit.

It reads: "We have serous concerns that if this behaviour continues in the way it did two weeks ago, someone will be seriously injured."

It goes on to say that young people in the town are being urged to use the purpose-built bike and skate area in Millennium Park instead as a safer option, and that a dispersal order will be in place once again.

It adds: "Officers have the power to seize bicycles and carry out enforcement against those found committing offences."

Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott
Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott

It urges parents to help discourage their children from taking part in the activity too.

On Saturday, June 15, one rider, wearing a camera, captured countless near-misses with motorists and pedestrians as they tore around at high speeds and performed dangerous stunts.

Members of the group also swarmed McDonald's on Hermitage Lane and were denied service before arguing with staff.

A point of view video shows one rider cycling straight towards a bus
A point of view video shows one rider cycling straight towards a bus

Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, said: "A large number of constituents contacted me about this incident and having now seen the footage myself I can completely understand their concerns.

"I have been in touch with the Police Commissioner about this but it is not just a policing matter.

"Clearly someone is going to get hurt if these youngsters continue with this behaviour but with videos like this going viral, and kids making money from them as ‘influencers’, it needs a more holistic approach from all partners to tackle this before a tragedy happens."

More than 100 youngsters took to roads in and around the county town causing traffic mayhem
More than 100 youngsters took to roads in and around the county town causing traffic mayhem

Acting Chief Inspector Stuart Paul, Kent Police's district commander for Maidstone, said earlier this month: "We want young people to enjoy riding their bikes while getting some exercise, but they must do this in a safe and responsible way and be considerate to other road users and pedestrians.

"My officers were called about a group of cyclists riding antisocially around Maidstone. We issued a dispersal order covering the town centre and gave the group of around 100 youths words of advice.

"I would like to remind anyone seeking to cycle in this manner that we have recently seized bikes where pedestrians have been put at risk, and in some cases they may be committing a criminal offence."

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone.

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