Stick and carrot set riders right

GOOD to see the police taking a firm line with someone riding a motorcycle in an anti-social manner around Sidley Recreation Ground a few days ago.

They not only turned up to stop the nuisance there and then, but went on to use powers conferred on them by the Police Reform Act 2005 to seize and destroy the bike.

Hopefully the offending rider will have learned that it is simply not acceptable to disregard the safety and serenity of others by careering around a public amenity and nearby roads in a noisy, reckless and dangerous fashion.

Ironically, just a mile or so away, there are opportunities to ride similar mini moto-cross “pit bikes” safely and legally on a challenging track provided and supervised by the South Coast Pits bike club.

Even more ironically, this group - founded in July 2010 - was born out of local police officers seeking somewhere for youngsters to go to have some fun.

That it has succeeded in its aim is reflected in a membership now heading towards 200 and glowing testimonials published on its website,

How pleasing to learn, for instance, that a 10-year-old lad has progressed from never having been on a pit bike to riding at competition level, and that two boys who regularly rode illegally in woods have since developed respect for the law and enjoyed learning how to maintain as well as ride their bikes.

Others have been encouraged by such examples, and the club’s influence has extended far beyond the bikes themselves. Two boys who were sworn enemies and frequently fought one another discovered a common interest and are now firm friends.

The club organises camping weekends, and a successful trip to France is being repeated this year - again opening up new horizons for both boys and girls who join the group at modest cost, where necessary tailored to meet individual circumstances.

So, let’s end with another “well done “- this time to Rother District Council‘s Cabinet, which on Monday awarded South Coast Pits £1,000 from its community grants scheme to bolster the club’s activities and its work with young people.

It is pleasing to see that while sometimes the authorities are obliged to crack down on anti-social behaviour, big strides are also being made towards preventing it in a positive way.