THE number of e-scooters seized by Essex Police has risen tenfold in the space of a year and their days are “limited”, the county’s crime commissioner has said.

Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst made the remark as figures show that in 2020 just 38 e-scooters were seized by Essex Police.

However, in 2021 a total of 317 e-scooters were seized.

Privately-owned e-scooters are illegal to use other than on private land.

But rental e-scooter trials in five towns and cities in Essex are being extended for another year to allow for more evidence to be gathered as part of planning for their role in the future of sustainable transport.

Mr Hirst said: “My personal view is I don’t think they will be a thing for very long because they are clearly not safe.

“I don’t know when the pilots are going to be assessed, but we certainly have feedback which in terms of kilometres travelled they are pretty dangerous.”

Initially trials were expected to operate until October 31 last year, but the Department for Transport requested for trials in Colchester, Braintree, Chelmsford, Basildon and Brentwood be extended until November 30 this year to allow for the collection of more evidence of their safety.

The request has been agreed by Essex County Council.

Trials in Clacton were halted at the end of October 2021 when Tendring Council decided it no longer wanted it to continue.

Essex Police has said its aim is to keep everyone safe on roads and footpaths by educating owners and riders of privately-owned e-scooters about the current legislation and, where necessary, take enforcement action, especially where there is evidence of anti-social behaviour, other riding offences or wider criminality.

The rider of a privatelyowned e-scooter being used in a public area is required to hold a driving licence and insurance.

By educating riders and encouraging them not to use privately-owned e-scooters in a public area, Essex Police hopes the number of e-scooters being used illegally, and any perceived anti-social behaviour, will be reduced.

But if riders continue to flout the law they could have their scooters seized and destroyed.