Merseyside Police today welcomed the sentencing of a 20 year-old man for riding an off-road motorbike through a shopping centre in Bootle.

James Kinsella, from Bootle, admitted dangerous driving, driving without insurance, driving without a licence and not wearing protective headgear following the incident at the Strand shopping centre on January 7 this year.

Kinsella was today, Tuesday 1 March, sentenced to 12 months in prison.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years and must take an extended test and had his licence endorsed.

Bootle neighbourhood Inspector Ian Jones said: “James Kinsella had a blatant disregard for the safety of other people when he drove the scrambler bike through the Strand shopping centre.

“It is clear from the CCTV footage that the centre was very busy at the time and there were a number of shoppers – including mums with prams – just feet from the bike. It is only by sheer luck that nobody was struck by the bike and seriously injured or worse.

“I want to reassure the community that we take the issue of scrambler bikes very seriously and we will do everything we can to take them off the streets and find the people responsible for using them in an illegal, dangerous or antisocial way.

“With the help of the community and partner agencies, we have arrested several people over the last two months for similar offences and this case demonstrates how effective partnership work can be to tackle such serious issues.

“We also recently organised a poster competition at schools in Bootle, Seaforth and Litherland, engaging with our younger pupils, and helping them to express how they feel about the antisocial use of these bikes and getting across the message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Many riders don’t give a moment’s thought to the consequences of their actions and the misery they bring to decent law-abiding members of the community.

“I would appeal to anyone who knows where these bikes are being stored or has information on the antisocial use of scrambler and off road bikes  to contact us on 0151 777 3858, the non-emergency 101 number or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”