Young bike riders who raced through Swansea on unregistered off-road machines have been told they face the likelihood of prison. The riders continued to travel at breakneck speeds and on the wrong side of the road even after a police team had punctured all the tyres on their motorcycles with a "stinger" device.

Counsel for the defendants said immaturity had played a part in the offending, and said their clients now realise how serous their actions had been. A judge said the riding of Keiran Paton, Fraser Saunders, and Joshua Miller - aged 18, 19, and 20 respectively - could easily have resulted in a fatality. He said he wanted time to consider the appropriate sentences, and remanded the defendants into custody.

Swansea Crown Court heard that on the night of Saturday, January 27, this year police received reports of a group of five motorbikes being ridden antisocially in the Swansea Marina area. Caitlin Brazel, prosecuting, said at just after 10pm an officer on an unmarked police motorcycle encountered the group on Trawler Road, and the officer followed them as they made their way out of the marina and onto Oystermouth Road where he was joined by a colleague in an unmarked car.

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The court heard the five target bikes headed west along the main road away from the city centre with three off-road bikes in the lead and two road bikes behind them, and it appeared to the following officers that the road bikes were trying to "shield" the scramblers from view. The two bikes forming the shield started slowing down while the scramblers ahead of them sped off - the pursuing officers went around the road bikes and went after the scramblers.

The court heard the police officers activated the lights and sirens on their bike and car but the off-road bikes did not stop, instead racing away along Mumbles Road at speeds in excess of 50mph and overtaking a number of vehicles and going through a red traffic light as they did so. The bikes raced around Swansea Bay on Mumbles Road and then went into and through Mumbles - going the wrong way around a mini-roundabout in the village - before pulling into the car park at Bracelet Bay. Still being followed by police the trio then left the car park via the pedestrian exit and raced back through Mumbles, going through a red light at the pedestrian crossing outside Joe's ice cream parlour.

The prosecutor said by now a police team was in place ready to deploy a "stinger" and as the trio left Mumbles the device was successfully deployed and punctured all the tyres on the three machines. However, the trio continued to ride on with the deflated tyres as they headed back towards Swansea - at times riding on the wrong side of the busy road.

The court heard Saunders and Paton then turned onto Derwen Fawr Road and into the Blackpill car park where they were detained by the pursuing officers. Miller was spotted riding along the seafront footpath and was caught a short time later as he was loading his bike into the back of a van. The court heard officers examined the recovered bikes - none of which were registered for use on the roads - and spotted the vehicle identification number or VIN on Paton's ride had been scratched off. Subsequent checks showed the machine had been stolen from Brighton in Sussex. Since being stolen the bike had sustained damage which has cost the rightful owner more than £5,800 to put right. For the latest court reports, sign up to our crime newsletter here

In their subsequent interviews Paton and Miller answered "no comment" to all questions asked while Saunders said his father had bought the bike for him a few months earlier but he had never registered himself as the owner. He accepted he was a disqualified driver - his licence having been revoked - and he accepted there was no insurance, tax or MoT in place for the machine.

Joshua Miller, of Llangorse Road, Penlan, Swansea, Keiron Paton, of Pen y Mor Road, Penlan, Swansea, and Fraser Saunders, of Cockett Road, Cockett, Swansea, had all previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving without insurance when they appeared in the dock for sentencing. Saunders had also pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and Miller and Paton to driving without a licence. Paton had further admitted handling stolen goods. None of the defendants have any previous convictions - the court heard Saunders' disqualification came as an automatic revocation of his licence by the DVLA after he picked up six penalty points for speeding on the motorway within two years of passing his test.

Kate Williams, for Saunders, said her client accepted "it was more by luck than judgement" that nobody had been seriously injured as a result of his riding on the night in question. She said immaturity had played its part in the offending, as had acting as part of group where everyone was "egging each other on". The advocate said Saunders was currently serving an apprenticeship and was due to take his final exams in July. Megan Williams, for Miller, said her client was also in the final year of an apprenticeship and said there was a "responsible side" to him.

Giles Hayes, for Paton, said his client was part of a group of friends who "have an affinity for bikes" and for the most part they rode them off-road on land where they had permission so to do. He said the defendant was an "extremely immature young man" and on the night in question the group had egged each other on and caused "mayhem" on the streets. The advocate said Paton had asked him to express his remorse for his actions to the court, and said the defendant now accepts the magnitude of what he and his friends did that night.

Judge Paul Thomas KC said Mumbles would have been busy on a Saturday night with its public houses and licensed premises, and said all it would have taken was for a pedestrian to step out into the road as the defendants raced through the village for their to have been a fatality. He said the defendants had pleaded guilty to a serious offence but what had been said on their behalf by counsel had given him "food for thought". The judge said he wanted time to consider the appropriate sentences and remanded all three into custody until Tuesday, warning them "The likelihood is you will be serving prison sentences".

Before hearing the case Judge Thomas had said he had seen for himself the way some people ride motorbikes through Mumbles, and he asked counsel whether they thought his personal experience in regard to that matter would be an issue in him sitting in the case - the advocates said the issue of antisocial bike riding in Swansea was a matter of public knowledge and they did not consider the judge's experiences to be an issue.

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