LIGHTER evenings have brought an increase in the dangerous and illegal use of mopeds say North Swindon Police.

Riders, mainly young men, have been seen taking the machines across footpaths, the wrong way down main roads and across parkland at high speeds. Sometimes the bikes are not roadworthy. But recent extra patrols in the Pinehurst area have netted a number of illegal bikes.

On Sunday an overnight operation by officers resulted in the arrest of two teenage boys and the seizure of two mopeds in the Pinehurst area.

A 15-year-old was charged with driving while disqualified and with no insurance and a 16-year-old was charged with taking a moped without consent. The 15-year-old appeared before Swindon Magistrates on Monday and was bailed. The older boy was given unconditional bail and is due before magistrates on Jul 3.

Insp Andy Bridge said: "We know that the actions of a few can make life miserable for the majority of those living in the community. I want to reassure the community that we are working hard to combat this behaviour with visible patrols and a lot of intelligence work going on behind the scenes to help us build up a picture of who might be responsible and prosecute them.

"These riders are risking not only the safety of others but their own safety.

"I want to reassure the public that we have a number of tactics that we can use to stop these individuals but the risks involved have to be carefully assessed against all the circumstances before they can be used and it may not always be appropriate to use them,” he said.

"We will, however, follow up on intelligence and evidence gathered in the course of investigations and prosecute those who are responsible. He said other crimes had also been carried out using mopeds, including street robberies where mobile phones were snatched. “Although few in number these are a cause for concern and we are also concentrating our efforts to tackle this.

He appealed for anyone with information about the incidents to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.