Former bouncer turns bike-riding vigilante to fight crime

Former bouncer turns bike-riding vigilante to fight crime

August 20, 2022

Former bouncer turns bike-riding vigilante to carry out security patrols on his tough estate to fight crime and anti-social behaviour after yobs smashed up his car

  • Jonny Wilkinson, 46, took matters in his own hands to fix crime on an estate 
  • The former bouncer said St James Village in Gateshead worsened over the years
  • He said final straw was when vandals caused £1,000 worth of damage to his car
  • Now, he carries out security patrols on the estate on his bike and installed CCTV 

A former bouncer fed up with crime and anti-social behaviour on his estate has started carrying out his own security patrols in a bid to tackle the problem head-on.

Jonny Wilkinson said crime on the St James Village estate in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, has been getting worse over the years.

He claims burglaries, theft, and car break-ins are becoming an almost daily occurrence for residents.

The personal trainer said the final straw was when vandals caused £1,000 worth of damage to his car, leading him to cover his home in CCTV cameras.

Mr Wilkinson, 46, said: ‘Everyone is just fed up. I have been targeted and had £1,000 worth of damage done to my car. Crime has been escalating over the last couple of years on the estate.

Former bouncer Jonny Wilkinson, 46, set up his own security patrols after noticing crime on the St James Village estate in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, was getting worse over the years

‘It is really bad and I want to sort this out. I have had enough and a lot of the residents are sick.

‘Every other day there is someone saying [something like]: ‘Can anyone check their CCTV my bike has been stolen?’ It is just a constant thing.’

But now Jonny, who has an SIA door badge, is taking it one step further by carrying out his own security patrols of the estate every night in an effort to act as a deterrent to ‘opportunists’.

He is offering his services to residents who have joined a WhatsApp group with their addresses so he can keep an eye on their homes and be alerted to any incidents.

Jonny said: ‘I have a security background and I am going out on a night and going around the estate on my electric bike to see if anything is going on and to try and be a deterrent.

‘I go out at about 3am and stay out for about an hour. I can whizz around the whole estate in three minutes.’

Now, Mr Wilkinson, who has an SIA door badge, is taking it one step further by carrying out his own security patrols of the estate every night in an effort to act as a deterrent to ‘opportunists’.

The service he provides is currently free but he plans to introduce a monthly charge of £10 per house and £5 per apartment when more members join.

He hopes this will enable him to specifically check on the homes of those who have paid into the scheme and also hire staff on a rota system of nightly patrols.

Jonny said: ‘They are able to get in touch with me directly on WhatsApp and report any concerns they have or if they see any suspicious behaviour.

‘When it grows we will be able to put another guard on so we can get more of the area covered.

‘I am going to liaise with the police all of the time. There are police officers designated for this area but they haven’t got the manpower to come around all of the time.

‘If it goes well we can look to carry out patrols around other private estates. This is the kind of thing that is going to be needed in the future. It is something that is big in America.’

Northumbria Police urged residents to report anti-social behaviour and other criminal matters to the police.

A force spokeswoman said: ‘As a force, we are committed to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour as well as bringing effective justice against those found to have been involved.

Mr Wilkinson said: ‘If it goes well we can look to carry out patrols around other private estates. This is the kind of thing that is going to be needed in the future’

‘That’s why, throughout the year, we run dedicated operations and initiatives to tackle pockets of disorder, identify perpetrators and ultimately keep our communities safe.

‘We would always encourage anybody who is affected by anti-social behaviour and other criminal matters to report it directly to us so we can properly address any concerns and take appropriate action.

‘Alongside our normal reporting methods, we would also encourage residents to engage with officers through community meetings in their area and digital channels such as online reporting forms and Northumbria Connected.

‘Please know that your intelligence is vital and, if you report an issue to us, we will do everything in our power to tackle it alongside our partners.

‘If you see anything suspicious in your community, always report it to police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page on our website or by calling 101. In an emergency, or if a crime is taking place, always ring 999.’

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