Cyclists will discover the streets of Witney are no longer a soft touch tomorrow if they pedal on the pavement and put pedestrians at risk.

Police have a New Year’s resolution to crack down on nuisance cyclists – and all seven of the town’s Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) will be able to dish out £30 on-the-spot fines.

Anyone caught cycling on pavements or without lights at night will no longer receive a warning but get booked, in an attempt to make the streets safer.

Among the PCSOs enforcing the new regime are Tracy Walker and Mari-Claire Tutty. The pair have been giving verbal warnings in the past year, but are fed up with persistent flouting of the law.

PCSO Walker said: “We have had a lot of complaints about this. People are fed up with bikes on the pavements.

“We’ve had some near misses. It’s quite an issue for the elderly, the disabled and young children.

“We’ve been stopping cyclists all last year and giving them warnings. No longer.

“From tomorrow, it’s an immediate £30 on-the-spot fine.”

During the past year there have also been bike safety campaigns with leaflets handed out in the town centre.

Rodney Hartnell, manager of Witney’s Woolgate centre, told the Oxford Mail he supported the get-tough approach. He said: “Fortunately, we have not had an accident that I’m aware of, but there’ve been some close scrapes. Elderly people do get a bit nervous and we want to stop that.

“It's not just children, but grown men and women who are at fault.

“The Woolgate is a paved area. All they have to do is dismount, it only takes an extra minute to walk through. Fining them now is the only way to go about it.”

Police say they could adopt the same zero tolerance approach in the district’s other towns.

The Witney crackdown follows a similar campaign in Oxford.

During four months, police in the north of the city stopped 201 cyclists for not having lights, or riding on pavements.

During one night in November, officers set up spot checks on Banbury and Woodstock roads and issued 28 cyclists with £30 fines.