A woman whose elderly parents were nearly knocked down by two racing motorbikes in a pedestrian-only area has shared her fears about the rise of anti-social behaviour in Woodley.

Jane Mitchell says she fears shoppers and shopkeepers in Woodley Precinct, near Crockhamwell Road, are being ‘left on their own, without protection’ from police.

There have been widespread reports of youths riding e-scooters, electric bikes and motorbikes through the precinct recently – despite the fact it is meant to be a vehicle-free zone.

She said: “Woodley at the moment is experiencing a lot of antisocial behaviour (ASB) in the precinct and around the town with a problem of scooters and motorbikes racing through the pedestrianised precinct.

“My parents who are in their eighties and fairly frail, came out of a shop the other day and were almost knocked down by two motorbikes racing through the precinct.

“It was to the extent that shopkeepers came racing out to make sure they were okay.”

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Jane said she is aware that dozens of people in the community have their own stories of coming into contact with anti-social behaviour in recent weeks.

Jane said: “Literally loads of people have written about incidents happening to them as well, kids daring other kids to ride into shops on their scooters, kids riding directly at people , elderly , mums with kids and people with dogs, riding scooters in the dark along roads with no lights down the Perimeter Road footpath, often with bandanas on their faces.

She continued: “There is also a spate of shoplifting as well, I myself saw staff from Iceland chasing someone who had run out of the shop with a basket of food, a staff member of Waitrose said they have also had increased amounts of theft.”

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen (Conservative, Hillside) parliamentary candidate for Earley and Woodley and leader of the opposition of Wokingham Borough Council, urged residents to report issues to Matthew Barber, Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, the borough council’s ASB unit, to Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East and Brian Fennelly of the Woodley Town Centre management.

However, Jane has complained that both Mr Rodda and Mr Barber haven’t replied to her concerns.

She continued: “The police have replied to basically state they don’t have the resources, they have suggested CCTV and a disc system but the council aren’t keen as it would seem, due to cost.

“They don’t feel CCTV would really help and it’s up to residents to report to the police."

Jane continued: “All have rejected traffic calming measures at the open ends of the shopping centre of staggered railings to help slow down these vehicles even though signs do state they should not be ridden in the centre and private security cannot be considered as the Precinct wasn’t always pedestrianised area and it is still considered to be a public highway.

“So basically, our residents and shopkeepers are left on our own with no protection whatsoever!!!”

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Mr Rodda, the MP, said he is aware of the issue and launched a survey on Wednesday to gauge public opinion about e-scooters, which you can take part in here.

Cllr Ian Shenton (Liberal Democrats, Evendons), Wokingham Borough Council’s executive member for environment, sport and leisure said: “The Woodley town centre precinct is a pedestrian-only area and has a traffic regulation order (TRO) meaning no vehicles including motor vehicles, pedal cycles, skateboards, roller skates, or scooters are allowed.

“Enforcing this is a police matter and not something the council is able to do.

“Our ASB team is aware of the issue with e-scooters in the precinct. The problem with e-scooters is not unique to Woodley or Wokingham Borough.

"Our ASB team is regularly visiting the area and working closely with the neighbourhood police team to try and tackle the issue and we have requested additional police presence in the area.

"The precinct is very busy, with a regular Saturday market and other markets during the week. To install barriers would prevent stall holders from accessing the area, as well as those using mobility scooters and the emergency services."

Thames Valley Police has been contacted for comment.