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e-Bikes seized and 8 arrested in city centre

Eleven electric bikes were seized and eight people arrested in Cardiff city centre last Thursday (5 October), as part of a joint operation targeting people riding modified bikes which can reach speeds of more than 40mph.

Cardiff Council's city centre warden team took part in the operation which saw South Wales Police make two arrests, and the UK Visas and Immigration Service arrest six people.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Council said: "As a council we actively encourage people to cycle bikes but what we can't have is people driving illegal, modified electric bikes in pedestrian areas putting pedestrians at risk.

"Each vehicle that was seized by the South Wales Police could do speeds up to and beyond 40mph, yet they were all only fitted with brakes for a regular pedal cycle. It's unacceptably selfish behaviour and it's important we crackdown on it.

"During the operation one of our wardens was allegedly assaulted by a bike rider who has been charged with assault, carrying a bladed article and possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply. Moving forward we can see that episodes like this only reinforce the need for our City Centre Warden Team to wear body cameras and I will be taking this up with the relevant officers to authorise their use."

Electric bikes which have a maximum output of over 250 Watts, a hand throttle, or exceed speeds of 15.5mph are not classed as a pedal cycle, but a moped or a motorcycle, and must be registered with the DVLA, insured and taxed and the driver must wear a helmet.

These vehicles can only be driven on private land and not on the public highway as they are regarded as a danger to pedestrians.

The new City Centre Warden Team, funded by the UK Government's Shared Prosperity Fund, patrols the city centre and works with the Emergency Services and Council service providers to clamp down on anti-social behaviour to keep the streets of Cardiff safe for everyone to enjoy.

Sergeant Gareth Davies, from South Wales Police, said: "While it's not illegal to own an e-bike with an electrical assistance or power output exceeding 15 mph and 250W respectively, you can't ride it on the public highway as a regular bike without registering and insuring it like a moped. 

"This includes both off-road and road rights, such as byways and bridleways. You can only ride unregistered and uninsured electric bikes on private land with the landowner's permission. 

"During Thursday's operation two people, initially stopped in relation to illegally adapted pedal cycles, were arrested on suspicion of drug dealing offences. Drugs and a large knife were seized.

"We will continue to work with our partners in this way to help keep Cardiff city centre safe."

Richard Johnson, Assistant Director, Home Office Immigration Enforcement said: "Illegal working harms communities, cheats honest workers out of employment, puts vulnerable people at risk, and defrauds the public purse.

"We are committed to tackling all forms of immigration crime, working with partners including police and local authorities. This is a great result, and we will continue to clamp down on illegal working and ensure offenders are brought to justice."

⬛ The new city centre warden team is patrolling the centre to work with the police and other partners against antisocial behaviour.

With five officers on each shift each day, the team works with other authorities to tackle and report issues. Their role includes working with the outreach team to help rough sleepers; stopping people cycling in areas where it is not permitted and reporting any criminal activity to the police.

To ensure that council staff can carry out their day-to-day duties safely, each officer will have a body-worn camera, which will be activated if an incident arises.

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