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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 16:11 GMT
Police ride out on electric bikes
Powercruiser bikes
Insp Beasley (left), says the bikes will help fight criminal damage
Police in Wrexham have ridden out on their latest crime-fighting vehicles - electronic pushbikes.

They can switch between pedal power and electricity, have a top speed of 15mph and can operate quietly at night.

North Wales Police say the mountain bikes, which cost 650 each, will help officers respond quickly.

The three bikes will be used as part of Operation Dambusters, an initiative aimed at tackling incidents of criminal damage in Wrexham.

Unveiling the bikes on Tuesday, Wrexham town inspector Chris Beasley said: "Operation Dambusters is exactly what it says - it's to bust people who commit damage. "We will have officers on bikes dedicated to responding to incidents.

We have caught quite a few people
PCSO Keith Jones

"The bikes are ideal because they are silent so can be used very effectively at night and are fast and versatile enough to allow the officer to keep up with any fleeing offenders.

"They are also environmentally-friendly and very cost effective to use."

The bikes can be plugged into a mains socket overnight and charged.

A single charge costs around 10 pence and provides enough power to cover roughly 30 miles.

The force has trialled one bike in Wrexham in recent months, and were so impressed the fleet has been extended to three.

Powercruiser bike
The bikes cost 650 each, and have a top speed of 15mph

Insp Beasley said patrol cars were not always able to respond quickly to incidents of criminal damage if the vehicles are called out for more serious incidents.

He added: "This initiative will hopefully improve our investigation of criminal damage and offer a better service to victims whilst also trying to ensure that offenders carry the full cost of the damage via the submission of compensation claims to the courts.

"In these times of high demand, the bikes will help us to have our resources in the right location, at the right time to catch the right people."

Community support officer Keith Jones, who helped trial the bikes, said: "I have found it really good.

"It's great for getting to places, and you get there a lot quicker and easier.

"We have caught quite a few people."

Operation Dambusters has been funded by the Wrexham community safety partnership, a committee of representatives from organisations including the emergency services and the local council.

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