A POLICE plane circled over Leigh, Tyldesley, and Astley as part of a new operation yesterday afternoon.

As residents noticed the plane circling the area, information from the flightradar24 tracking website shows that a National Police Air Service flew over Leigh, Tyldesley, and Astley for more than an hour on Sunday, July 7.

It has now been confirmed that the plane was circling the area in response to reports of off-road bikers and anti-social behaviour being committed.

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Officers from the National Police Air Service will be used to locate off-road bikers and anti-social behaviour offendersOfficers from the National Police Air Service will be used to locate off-road bikers and anti-social behaviour offenders (Image: NPAS)
Following increasing reports of anti-social behaviour and off-road bikers being ridden across Greater Manchester, police have recently launched a new operation in order to tackle this.

A strategy has been devised to highlight the highest reported anti-social behaviour incidents and high-risk routes across Greater Manchester, while officers from the Force's Specialist Operations Branch will also offer assistance.

This includes officers from the Roads Policing Unit, Drone and Motorcycle Unit and the National Police Air Service.

Although no arrests were made following yesterday's flight, police say that this marks the start of the new operation and specialist officers will be increasingly used to tackle off-road bikers, anti-social behaviour, and repeat offenders.

There has been increasing reports of off-road bikers across the regionThere has been increasing reports of off-road bikers across the region (Image: GMP)
Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle from GMP's Prevention Branch said: “We understand the majority of motorbike, e-bike and quadbike riders, use their vehicles in a safe and considerate manner and abide by the law. But, sadly, there are those that don’t and this poses a serious risk to not only themselves, but other road users also. 

"Anti-social behaviour can take many forms and if it's a problem for you, it's a problem for us. It can disrupt our lives, make us feel unsafe in our communities and lead to further and more serious crimes.

“While some people may use off-road bikes in the way they were intended, others use them to ruin parks, playing fields and flagrantly violate traffic laws - which is exactly what this operation is intending to prevent.

"We target ASB in multiple ways - enhanced hotspot patrols, partnership work, and providing opportunities for young people to keep them from falling into criminality. While we always seek to engage, we will also enforce; anyone using these bikes irresponsibly will be spoken to and all appropriate action taken."

“We will use every tool at our disposal, which includes specialist GMP resources to crackdown on this type of crime. I would also like to encourage residents to report incidents to us so we can take appropriate action."