Hoons on motorcycles are causing havoc on suburban Rotorua streets - and police believe in some cases they are transporting illegal drugs.
Police and residents have spoken out after several incidents involving trail and dirt bikes - including offenders on stolen bikes, wearing no helmets and at least one who sparked a police pursuit this week.
Inspector Brendon Keenan told the Rotorua Daily Post police had recovered four stolen trail bikes used in this type of offending.
He believed most of the bikes used were stolen which caused difficulties in identifying the alleged offenders.
"We also believe in some instances, but not all, the bikes are being used to transport illicit substances.
"In other instances, these are teenagers taking unnecessary risks."
A Rotorua mother, who spoke on the condition she was not named, described one trail bike-related incident on Tuesday which made her heart race.
The mother said a man overtook her doing at least 70km/h on Malfroy Rd just past the Westbrook Netball Courts heading towards Westbrook School about 2.45pm.
"Just as he went past, I heard the police sirens from behind me and pulled over to let the police car go past. The guy on the motorbike turned his head back to see the police car and sped up even more,'' she said.
"I knew the pedestrian crossing for Westbrook School was coming up and I started to panic that some kids may have been released from class earlier or even the children on school patrol may have been setting up. My heart raced, hoping like crazy no children would get hurt as the motorbike sped through the pedestrian crossing.
"Thankfully there were no issues, but it worries me to think what could've happened if it was 15 minutes later."
A police media spokeswoman said the motorcyclist was observed driving dangerously but failed to stop for police.
"A brief pursuit of about a minute ensued, however, was abandoned due to the manner of driving. Police are making inquiries."
The mother is one of several locals who say they are fed up with hoons on trail and dirt bikes riding around suburban streets with no helmets and no regard for the law.
Resident Peter Fielding, whose property backs on to Linton Park, said he heard trail bikes all the time being ridden along Alison St.
"I think police need to control the area a bit more especially if they are being plagued by bike riders."
One business owner along Malfroy Rd, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had wondered what had been happening as she had noticed an increase of riders screaming past her shop around Waitangi Day.
"The last two days we have had a lot of bikes coming here with noise and it is dangerous, especially because it was a public holiday there were a lot more people walking around. It's just not safe."
She said she had seen the police chase one of the riders on Tuesday. She said that rider was not wearing a helmet.
She was concerned not just for children in the area but for the elderly who used walkers or scooters and could be frightened by the noise.
Westbrook School principal Colin Watkins said police following the rider on Tuesday had slowed down when passing the school. He believed it was an isolated incident.
He said no bikes had been in or around the premises during school hours and he did not believe pupils were in any danger.
"If the police had a concern that the school or the kids were at risk in any way they would've contacted us and they haven't."
A Sunset Rd resident said she had heard the riders for years but had never physically seen them until last week.
"I saw two of them racing down Sunset Rd with no helmets thinking that's brave. They're out on the road where before they would be riding around Sunset School."
On Waitangi Day police received more calls about trail bike riders in the Fordlands area.
A police media spokeswoman said police received a report about 3.10pm of dangerous driving by trail bike riders on Sunset Rd. No one was arrested but police were making inquiries.
Police confirmed these events were a priority and although arrests had not been made, four of the stolen trial bikes had been recovered.
Keenan said trail bike riders were difficult to isolate, cordon and catch as they could move quickly between roads, trails and paths.
He said police had tactics and operational plans in place but could not go into detail.
"While we understand it can be frustrating, we need the public to keep reporting this type of offending wherever they see it, it's often a fluid environment not isolated to a particular property or location like other types of offending, and reports help us track down offenders."
What to do if you see a rider
• Report the sighting to police or call 111
• Take note of the time and the road
• Do not interact with the riders
• Police may not come directly but will cordon the area