The motorcycle crime spree in London has led some bikers to take things into their own hands. One such group is Biker Biker, who invited MCN to one of their anti-theft patrols to show what goes on.
“I’ve had three Gixxers nicked,” says Shane, Biker Biker founder. “I wanted to do something other people aren’t. At first it was just me and the wife going around looking for stolen bikes but soon people saw what we did, liked it and wanted to join in.”
One of those is Elliot. “I found these guys and just joined in. It’s so rare to find a group of people doing something for the community for absolutely nothing.”
Before heading out Shane briefs us on the do’s and don’ts (basically, respect the law) and we head into the night. I was expecting a quiet few hours but within minutes we’re chasing down a pair of bike thieves.
Two lads on a smashed-up scooter with no lights or numberplate come flying towards us on the pavement. A few U-turns later and the chase is on. We head towards a housing estate and a couple of guys try to box them in. Things get heated as we close in, legs kicking out wildly. Omar reaches out and everyone comes clattering to the ground. Within seconds the two lads have darted in opposing directions never to be seen again.
The police arrive a few minutes later and secure the bike, plus a helmet that one dropped. They’re appreciative of the efforts but it’s clear questions remain about ‘gangs of vigilantes’ on the streets.
“We get that all the time,” says Shane. “Less now because people know we’re not going to kick people’s heads in. We’re there as a deterrent to would-be bike thieves. If we do come across anyone, we just phone the police.”
“We root out people looking for a fight,” adds Elliot. “We’ve had a couple show up who gave off the wrong signals so we didn’t bring them along again. We don’t want anything to do with that.”
Statements taken we return to the road but it’s quiet. Thieves tend to keep their heads down once they know the group are in the area.
“We’re heading in the right direction with DNA spray etc,” says Elliot. “Problem is I don’t think there’s the political will or the funding to solve it.”
“But if we all come together as a community we can tackle this,” adds Shane. “Bikers have always stuck together and that’s what we need to do now.”
“I have been knifed in the hand. I’ve been kicked off my bike. I’ve been chased. For me, stopping a bike thief is closure. I’ve even been attacked on the A40 at 40mph. They could’ve killed me.
“What annoys me most is that that’s someone’s bike right there. Someone goes to work on that, or they use it for deliveries. It’s like nicking tools out of a van; you’re taking someone’s livelihood. The person who owned that is probably wondering how they’re going to pay their rent.
“I speak to these guys on Instagram. They’ve no remorse. They taunt me, send me death threats. ‘You won’t catch us,’ etc. I try to get through to them on a human level that they’re ruining people’s lives but they enjoy the thrill of it.”
MCN opinion – Andy Calton, Editor
The current bike theft issue is infuriating for every motorcyclist in the land and yet oh-so-difficult to tackle. Police are having money slashed from their budgets left, right and centre and bike crime is not high on their agenda. With the rise of scooter-related incidents reaching almost epidemic levels in London and other big cities, it’s completely understandable that bikers are taking action. And yet, what happens when a vigilante group chases a bike they believe to be stolen that then causes a crash, with third parties seriously injured. Who will be blamed? Probably not the thieving toerag. And yet Biker Biker leader Shane is right. There are things bikers can do, within the law, to help get stolen bikes back by working together.