Motorcycle groups step in to help protect flood-hit homes from looters

Lloyd Spencer and Dave Cariss
Lloyd Spencer and Dave Cariss

Motorcycle groups have stepped in to protect flood-hit homes and businesses in the Calder Valley from looters.

Evening patrols are being carried out by bikers from Bradford and beyond, who are determined to do their bit to help.

The patrols in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd have been organised by Dave Cariss, of the Bradford-based Drifters MCC, with club chairman Lloyd Spencer.

“We are bikers, that’s just the kind of people we are. If someone needs us, we are there and we are there in force,” said Dave, 30, a sewer and waterways worker by day.

“It inititally came about when we saw a Facebook post saying there had been looters taking things that didn’t belong to them.

“I saw it and thought, well what better way to deter them then 30 to 40 of us.

“We meet up every night and everybody gets a designated area to walk around. On the first night there was no power, it was like war zone, it was terrible.”

He added that he thought the patrols had scared off burglars at a school and a local church.

The bikers meet at Mytholmroyd Community Centre, before beginning their mammoth nighttime shifts. Last night, their patrol began at 7pm and ended at 5.30am this morning.

Despite their intimidating presence in leather and hoodies, with most standing more than 6ft tall, Dave stresses the volunteers are not vigilantes.

“We are not there to do anything physical, if we did see something on our patrols we would tell the police straight away.

“On the first night, they asked what we were doing and we explained - they were over the moon - they have been fantastic.

“We are their eyes and ears on the ground.”

While many of the volunteers are bikers, they have also been joined by members of a local 4x4 group and patrol on foot and in vans rather than on motorycles.

And it’s the devastation they have seen which keeps them going.

“I don’t understand what goes through these people’s heads. These people have lost 99 per cent of their lives, why would somebody think ‘I’m going to take the last one per cent’?

“The residents are trying to give you what little they have left, food, tea and coffee, the use of their facilities.”

A fundraiser will also be held at The Northern pub on Saturday night from 7pm.

Motorcycle cliubs from Bradford have clubbed together for the night of fundraising to help flood victims. It’s hoped the money raised will help to buy simple items which could make a big difference to those in need.