YOUNG cyclists who had been performing wheelies in front of traffic or riding at pedestrians in Basingstoke town centre have been targeted in a police operation.

A dispersal order was put in place by Hampshire Constabulary on Friday, 4 August and Saturday, 5 August, in response to reports of large groups of young people riding bikes recklessly in pedestrian areas at the Top of The Town and on surrounding roads.

The reports include groups of more than 30 people causing alarm, harassment and distress to pedestrians and motorists alike.

The dispersal order covered an area of the town centre including the Top of The Town, Festival Place, The Malls, Basingstoke railway station, Alençon Link and Eastrop Lane Sergeant Jennifer Lovegrove, from Hampshire police, said: “The issue of young people riding on bikes in an anti-social manner has been raised to us a number of times, and this is our response.

“Cycling in an irresponsible manner, such as doing wheelies in the middle of the road in front of traffic, or riding at pedestrians, will not be tolerated and we will deal with all offences robustly."

For the two-day operation, Basingstoke’s Safer Neighbourhoods Team were joined by teams from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Safer North Hampshire.

Anybody found riding in the town centre was told to dismount while repeat offenders were given official warnings or removed from the area using a dispersal order.

In total, 14 people were warned or dispersed.

Their parents were contacted at the time and will be visited as a later date to discuss their child’s behaviour.

Sgt Lovegrove added: “We will continue with operations such as this throughout the summer and the town centre will remain a priority area for patrols by our officers and community safety patrols officers.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to ask parents to be aware of what their children are doing and speak to them about road safety.”

Anyone who sees anti-social behaviour should report it by calling 101.