A police force has enlisted the help of its helicopter unit to hunt down youngsters riding mini-motos illegally.

Warwickshire Police confirmed that the unusual tactic had been used this week to gather evidence against madcap mini-bikers in the Kenilworth area following complaints from the public.

The force's helicopter can record video footage of offenders and tell officers on the ground where rogue riders are hiding with their mini motor-bikes.

Sergeant Chris Cambray, from the Kenilworth Community Policing Team, said: "This type of anti-social behaviour is sometimes seen as a laugh by those who commit it.

"It is not, it is illegal and it is dangerous."

The officer added: "Riders usually display little evidence that they have the driving skills necessary to keep them alive on a bike.

"Their behaviour is a downright nuisance to residents and we will continue to utilise every means available to reduce this behaviour."

Mini-motos can reach speeds of 60mph or more and several children have been killed or seriously injured elsewhere in the country following accidents on areas of land where they cannot be used legally. n More than two motorcyclists a

month died on roads in the West Mercia force area in 2005, according to figures released yesterday to mark the launch of a BikeSafe initiative.

West Mercia is running five one-day assessments on Saturdays, starting in May. Assessments cost £50 per rider and last from 9am until 5pm.

Details of other BikeSafe assessments at www.bikesafe.co.uk or call 08452 307407