Police from the Halifax Neighbourhood Policing Team have adopted innovative strategies to address the issue of unruly utilisation of motorcycles and quad bikes within their jurisdiction.

Known as Operation Heelfield, this proactive endeavour focuses on curbing the problematic deployment of stolen and off-road vehicles in the regions of Mixenden, Ovenden, and Illingworth. The primary objective of this initiative is to mitigate the antisocial activities associated with these vehicles.

This operation relies on insights sourced from the local community and employs a multifaceted approach involving Neighbourhood Policing Officers, Roads Policing Officers, the Proactive Intercept Team (PIT), Drone Officers, off-road motorbikes, and a novel tool for forensic marking.

The recently introduced forensic marking technique, named SmartTag, has been equipped to officers as an additional asset in their efforts against offenders. This solution can be applied to both individuals and vehicles, adhering to skin, clothing, and objects even through washing. This characteristic facilitates the tracking of suspects subsequent to an incident.

Over the past 10 months, Operation Heelfield has concentrated on combating the theft and inappropriate use of stolen motorbikes, quadbikes, and other off-road vehicles. The campaign has demonstrated significant strides in addressing these transgressions within the North Halifax vicinity.

Sergeant Oliver Bentley of Halifax Neighbourhood Policing Team said; “Having forensic marking as an additional resource for our officers will increase our chances of bringing those responsible to justice.

“At times, it can be a risk to the public and officers to pursue offenders in off-road settings and the forensic marking solution can be sprayed without risk of harm to anyone.

“We understand the impact that anti-social use of off-road vehicles can have on the rural communities, and we will continue to do what we can to keep people safe.

“I would ask that anyone who may have information regarding the anti-social use of vehicles or has CCTV or video footage of incidents, reports via the 101LiveChat function on the website or alternatively submit through the submissions portal -Safer Roads Media Submissions (westyorkshire.police.uk) quoting Operation Heelfield.”