A GROUP of bikers have turned night-time patrollers to deter looters targeting flood-hit homes in the Calder Valley.
Opportunist thieves and scrap metal collectors are out after dark looking for what they can steal .
Every night since Sunday motorcycle enthusiasts have banded together to patrol the villages of Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Elland and Todmorden.
It started with half-a-dozen and rose to up to 60 a night. The patrollers leave their motorbikes at home due to the slippery conditions and use 4x4s and vans instead.
They meet at a Mytholmroyd community centre car park to be given their ‘patch’ for the night and set off in different directions.
When someone spots something suspicious the patrollers descend but the intention isn’t to confront or detain.
One of the bikers, Dave Cariss, 30, said: “It’s all about a deterrent. We are big lads but we are not out to scare, intimidate or apprehend anyone. We just want to stop people going round stealing.
“It’s like a warzone out there. These poor people have lost enough and deserve to keep what little they have left.”
Dave is a member of motorcycle club The Drifters MCC, based at The Northern pub at Odsal, Bradford.
Pub licensee and club chairman Lloyd Spencer, 57, is also part of the patrol.
Dave said insurance companies advised householders to leave damaged possessions outside to dry so they could be assessed later. But that encouraged thieves who toured the villages in the pitch black.
The group says there have been no confrontations, at worst some “verbals” from cars disappearing off at speed.
The group also claims to have prevented raids on Calder High School at Mytholmroyd and a local church.
Dave said they saw muddy footprints on a window at the school and the patrollers blocked the entrances and exits and called police. Officers attended and the bikers left them to it. It is thought the thieves ran off.
“At first the police were concerned when they saw our large group gathering but when we explained what we were doing they were thankful and have been working with us ever since,” said Dave.
“We are extra pairs of eyes and ears on the streets and they are grateful for our help.”