NINE people were reported for court action after speeding on rivers in the Maldon istrict.

Police in the specialist Marine Unit stopped a total of nine people on the rivers Blackwater and Colne going against council byelaws over spring, summer and autumn.

The specialist officers plan to work with councils and businesses to solve issues surrounding the launching of personal watercraft in Steeple Bay.

The plans come despite officers having seen a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour from personal watercraft riders on the Blackwater and Crouch rivers.

Just ten incidents on the River Blackwater were reported to police between spring and autumn this year, compared with 29 last year.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Patrol: police patrolling in the riversPatrol: police patrolling in the rivers (Image: Essex Police)

Police said only two incidents were reported on the rivers Crouch and Roach, which is down from 10 in 2022.

The marine unit’s annual Wave-Breaker operation saw water-based anti-social behaviour in Essex halve this year. The operation has now been adopted as best practice by police forces nationally.

Officers’ main focus is on water safety, both for personal watercraft riders and other water-users who may come into near contact with them.

Aside from their work on the river, they also promote water safety along the coast and attend events in the marine community to provide reassurance and specialist crime prevention advice.

Sgt Alex Southgate says the unit’s officers carried out almost 120 hours of extra patrols at hotspots on the rivers at peak times during the spring, summer and autumn.

He said: “It’s the third year we’ve run Operation Wave-Breaker and so regular visitors are now more aware of local water byelaws and the risks that speeding personal watercraft pose to other water-users.

“And it’s this increased awareness which has proved such a success. We encourage people to report dangerous water-based activity to us so we can take action and we work with local councils, which are responsible for the byelaws, to prosecute offenders whose behaviour has put themselves or others at risk.

“There are very few accidents involving personal watercraft in Essex and we want to keep it that way.

“We want to help visitors to stay safe while enjoying the many attractions our beautiful coastline has to offer.”