Six motorcyclists have been handed driving bans for a combined total of 10 years after they were caught performing “outrageous” high speed stunts.
And the men were sentenced this week thanks to digital cameras which had been mounted to one of their bikes.
The group were recorded on camera performing a variety of dangerous stunts along the A421 and A1(M) in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, including high speed wheelies while the rider stood on the seat.
Another motorist has also been disqualified from driving after being provoked by the drivers, and police believe that his high speed overtakes and undertakes of them were attempts to “intimidate” them.
The offences occurred on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Police received reports from members of the public of bikers riding dangerously on the A1(M). Officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit (RPU) stopped the group, but also discovered that one of the bikers had discarded two digital video recorders in the Hatfield tunnel.
Officers seized the devices, and on viewing the footage saw that the cameras had been attached to the front and rear of one of the bikes. It had recorded the riders’ journey from the Go Outdoors car park in Bedford, along the A421, and then south on the A1(M) before being stopped at Hatfield.
The cameras recorded numerous dangerous manoeuvres including wheelies and overtaking and undertaking at high speed.
The footage was given to the not-for-profit company Road Safety Support whose experts analysed it to provide submittable evidence for a prosecution. As part of their work they established the identification of the vehicles involved, the speeds they were travelling at and the traffic offences committed. The highest speed recorded in the footage was more than 140mph.
On Wednesday, July 21, the six motorcyclists were ordered to pay £500 costs after pleading guilty. They were also each handed driving bans.
Matthew Langley, aged 37, of Marston Mortaine, Bedford, was disqualified for three years.
Malik Blackburn, 31, of Corfe Road, Bedford, was disqualified for two years.
Axel Jones, 25, of Bedford Road, Turvey, was disqualified for 18 months.
Matthew James, 29, of Princess Street, Bedford, was disqualified for 18 months.
Jonathan Wartnaby, 32, and of Springfield Avenue, Kempston, was disqualified for 18 months.
And Kevin Saunders, 29, of Withnell Road, Blackpool, was disqualified for 12 months.
One day earlier, motorist Alistair Turner was also found guilty of dangerous driving in relation to the same incident. The 50-year-old man, of Raleigh Crescent, Stevenage, had been driving on the A1(M) and was provoked by the bikers’ behaviour. He also was identified from the footage and he was also disqualified for 12 months today and ordered to pay costs of £2,700.
PC Damian Bevan, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said: “The defendants acted with a group mentality, presumably trying to impress each other with their outrageous and extremely dangerous antics.
“Not only did they show flagrant disregard for the rules of the road, but they put themselves and others in unnecessary danger. They are fortunate that they did not cause a serious accident.
“They probably thought they would get away with it, however on finding their own footage we were able to use it to build a case against them with the expert support of Road Safety Support.
“Our roads are not a playground for those who want to participate in extreme motorsports; they can be dangerous places even at the best of times and require all motorists to act responsibly and with sufficient care to make sure they are as safe as possible for all road users.”
Three more motorcyclists also part of the group admitted speeding offences or driving without due care and attention offences and were fined between £200 and £2,080 at earlier hearings. No action was taken against the tenth motorcyclist.