GANGS of teenagers on trail and quad bikes are putting their lives at risk by turning quiet housing estates into deadly race tracks.

Police launched a major crackdown on daredevil youths after residents complained they were creating havoc on their streets and setting up bikers' dens in nearby woodland.

Teams of officers on quad bikes and a police helicopter have been patrolling the streets of Milton and woodland and fields on the northern outskirts of the city.

During the operation ­police squads found several secret dens where the youngsters aged 14-20 have been hiding out.

Police will continue the campaign until the problem is eradicated.

Officers have also collared a number of youths to warn them of the risks of riding motorbikes in streets and woodland into the early hours of the morning.

Police have visited nearby petrol stations to remind staff not to sell fuel to anyone under the age of 25 who want to fill up petrol cans.

Residents and property owners in the Milton area have joined forces with local councillor Helen Stephen and Glasgow Housing Association to work with the police to try to drive the riders off the roads and fields.

Police Scotland local area commander, Chief Inspector Joe McKerns, said: "Concerns were raised by the residents in Milton that there was a problem with youths riding trail and quad bikes in the street and causing a nuisance.

"They have been riding these trail and quad bikes on the roads and spare ground around Milton, and in nearby woodland, during the day and into the early hours of the morning.

"So far no-one has been injured, but they are risking their lives - anything could happen to them when they are riding around in the middle of the night in the streets and woodland.

"We want to send a message to parents - 'do you know where your son or daughter is at that time of the morning and are you aware they are on quad bikes?'

"As a result of the complaints from local residents we have deployed our own unit in the area and the surrounding fields and woodland who go about on trail bikes themselves.

"We have a team of officers on the ground and a force helicopter has carried out low level fly-bys to identify tracks and trails that have been used, and have taken photographs of them, so we know where were are going.

"When we come across these teenagers on the roads we engage with them to make sure they are aware of the dangers and highlight the nuisance they are causing to the local community.

"We have found a number of dens and have asked land owners to take them apart.

"This operation has been running for the last couple of weeks, using specialist resources, and the intention is that it will continue for the foreseeable future until the issue is dealt with.

"We are urging locals to help us locate where these vehicles are stored and who they belong to."

Glasgow Housing Association Area Director Jackie Morris confirmed they had received complaints about "illegal" quad bikers.

She said: "We're working closely with the police to clamp down on these illegal quad bikes, which are a real nuisance for people living in Milton.

"A number of tenants came to us asking for action to be taken, as the bikes are very loud and are a danger to the public and other road users."