Police in Wakefield have warned illegal off road bike riders they could soon be caught by an eye in the sky.
The force has deployed drones to detect the rogue riders as a support mechanism to its conventional methods of policing.
Wakefield District bike police used the drones in a test operation at Horbury Lagoon last week, in what the force claims is the first such use of UAVs to support off road bike policing is West Yorkshire.
Officers within West Yorkshire Police’s UAV Operations team piloted a drone over the lagoon on the day to provide bird’s eye support for patrolling officers.
The team involved confirmed the tests were able to show that the drone was able to give a clear picture of the whole lagoon area, providing the drone operator with real time intelligence which could be used to direct police off road riders on the ground.
The force has subsequently planned more drone flights for ‘hotspot’ areas for anti-social riding in the Wakefield District in the coming weeks.
PC Finley of the Operation Matrix Team, said: “The use of drones will really assist us on operations and we want to thank our colleagues from UAV Operations for their help in making this project a reality.”
He added: “In tests on Horbury Lagoon, a drone covering the southern area was able to give the operator a perfect view of the whole lagoon itself due to its height and camera kit, illustrating their effectiveness.
“If any illegal riders had been present and operating out of view of our Matrix team, the drone pilot would have spotted them and been able to guide us straight to where the problem was.”