Joyriding is not fun for those left to pick up pieces in wake of moped thugs – Jane Hamilton

“I heard the roar of the engine just before I realized the motorbike was on the pavement and heading towards me and my buggy.

“He had no intention of getting out my way. I had no choice but to jump onto a busy road with my baby.

“I was shaking and all I heard was him whooping with laughter.”

Those were the words of one woman terrified by the scourge that’s been plaguing streets in towns and cities for donkey’s years – thieving joyriding thugs.

Causing misery and havoc, they pilfer any vehicle they can get their grubby little hands on.

Bikes and mopeds seem to be a favorite as the thugs tear up and down residential streets, hurtle along pavements seemingly uncaring about any (human) obstacles in their way, pulling wheelies and weaving in and out of traffic.

It’s a menace that has been steadily getting worse over the years as bored youths and adults prove their brain cells have melted into the violent computer games that fuel their lawlessness and contempt for real life.

We recently highlighted a gang using TikTok to brag of their exploits in Glasgow captioning their “Ripping Up Everywhere” videos.

The account, which operates under the name Stickybandits2 and also includes the names Harry and Marv, can be seen tailing police vans while officers were unaware the motor thieves were driving along behind them.

It’s all too easy to roll our eyes and think there’s bigger and worse crimes happening out there than some wee neds roaring round town on stolen bikes but antisocial behavior involving vehicles has tragic consequences for both innocent members of the public and the thieves themselves.

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Nurse Jill Pirrie, 33, was mown down and killed by a joyriding driver as she made her way home from a shift at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary in 2016.

Do you agree with Jane’s view on moped thugs? Share your thoughts in the comments.

A month after Jill’s death, teenager Brad Williamson died after the stolen motorbike he was riding crashed into a car, causing catastrophic head injuries for the 14-year-old.

Both fatalities were senseless and needless but neither has proved as a deterrent and to the public it feels like they’re given a ‘free pass’ by police who appear to be powerless to stop them.

To chase or not to chase? At the moment it’s fairly common practice for cops not to pursue criminals on stolen bikes and mopeds, especially if said hooligan is not wearing a helmet.

As if any right-thinking hoodlum is going to worry about a little thing such as their own safety!

While there is no specific rule in place, police tend to take the view that pursuit may worsen the situation – a dilemma bike thieves take full advantage of taunting police who can do little more than watch.

What’s even more ridiculous than health and safety seemingly gone mad is that police officers could be open to prosecuting themselves for dangerous driving if they choose to pursue.

It means that each time officers find themselves faced with those situations several factors come into play – how built up is the area, is the speed appropriate to the conditions, is harm likely to come to pedestrians caused by their pursuit?

All the while, three helmetless neds on one bike are whooping and cheering as they perform wheelies in front of the cop car.

Nobody can blame police for their inability to stop these obnoxious little brats who have no regard for their own safety, let alone ours.

Every year there are local initiatives designed to try and tackle the problem but until the powers that be hand down stiffer punishments and protect skilled police drivers we will continue to be plagued by unlicensed potential killers.

Family of Jess get justice

A judge has ruled that Jessie Earl was unlawfully killed

It’s not often I’m shocked in this job but I’ve been working on a story that left me feeling frustrated and incredulous, so you can imagine how the family of the person concerned must feel.

For 40 years, Val and John Earl have fought to prove their daughter’s death was murder and this week they were finally vindicated when an inquest ruled Jessie was unlawfully killed and hadn’t committed suicide.

Despite the fact the 22-year-old was naked and her wrists bound to a tree with her own bra, cops in 1989 decided she had died by her own hand and closed the case.

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The only physical piece of evidence – the bra – was then routinely destroyed meaning police have little chance of finding her killer.

It’s a serious miscarriage of justice for her family.

It is small comfort for them to have successfully challenged a woeful decision.

Get shot of guns

A firearms amnesty has been announced by Police Scotland.

So if you’ve a gun belonging to your grandad in your loft and don’t know what to do with it, now is a good time to hand it over without fear of prosecution.

I doubt gangsters will, though.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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