Giving "mini moto" scooters to children and youths for Christmas could lead to them being handed an Asbo and having the machines confiscated by police, parents were warned yesterday.
Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said people should think twice before buying the petrol-driven scooters as a gift.
She made the call after 80 bikes in Coventry were seized and three Asbos imposed contained conditions prohibited a yob from riding a mini moto.
The machines are illegal on pavements and public highways, and can only be used on private land with the owner's permission.
Complaints about the machines are rocketing.
One local council reports that ten per cent of calls to its anti-social behaviour hotline concern "mini motos".
Police can confiscate and crush scooters being used illegally or irresponsibly.
Persistent offenders could be arrested for causing a public nuisance or face an Anti Social Behaviour Orders.
Sales of the devices have increased from 10,000 in 2002 to an estimated 100,000 in 2005, according to the Motor Cycle Industry Association.
Ms Blears said: "Vehicles like mini-motos are not toys, but all too often they are regarded as such.
"Owning one of these vehicles carries with it certain responsibilities. It is not acceptable to ride these vehicles in parks or on pavements and other public highways.
"We would also urge retailers to make customers aware at the point of sale of the problems associated with misuse of mini-motos." ..SUPL: