Underage criminals in the Isle of Wight are stealing pensioners’ electric scooters and using them to race one another or attempt dangerous high-speed stunts.
Residents on Shanklin’s notorious Eastcliffe estate cannot sleep for the noise from the scooters’ whirring electric motors and the youngsters’ screaming as the so-called ‘joy-riders’ attempt to perform handbrake turns, wheelies and 360 degree spins.
‘These things only go about 8 miles and hour, so they are completely wasting their time’ said Inspector Ray Charteris of the island’s traffic police. ‘They steal them in attempt to go joy riding, but it’s more a case of ‘misery-riding’ really.’
Several pensioners have reported coming out of the post office to see a youngster racing away having hot-wired their scooter. In one case a fellow pensioner went after the trolley-thief in a low-speed chase across town. The hoodie and his pursuer went through a red light, although it had gone green and then red again by the time they had crossed the junction.
Police are now stepping up their efforts to return stolen vehicles to their rightful owners, but are hampered by the tendency of some youngsters to soup up their scooters. With improved calibration, a more powerful battery and a spoiler on the back, some scooters can reach speeds up to twelve miles an hour. The idea was popularized by Isle of Wight Radio’s most popular programme; ‘Pimp My Scooter’.