It is perhaps not unusual for overexcited new drivers to clock up a few points on their licence in their first year or two behind the wheel.

But pity the 15-year-old boy who, having never put pedal to the metal on a public highway, already has six points on his licence. The teenager appeared in court last month after he was caught by police in Cleveland, north-east England, for clocking a “high speed” on an electric scooter.

With top speeds of up to 40mph, the scooters may only be ridden on authorised or private land, and are strictly prohibited on pavements. Police did not reveal any more details of the offence, but warned parents of the consequences of buying scooters for their children.

Electric scooters and skateboards are becoming more common on city streets across the UK. But few riders realise they risk arrest and a possible fine of up to £75 for riding what are classed as personal light electric vehicles (PLEVs).

 

The law – based on an 1835 Highways Act, according to scooter maker Micro – lags behind those in elsewhere in Europe. In France electric scooters can be ridden on cycle lanes and the pavement, provided riders keep to a speed limit; in Germany pavement riding is legal up to 6km/h (nearly 4mph); and in Austria and Switzerland riders can travel along cycle lanes and on roads at up to 25km/h.

In California, PLEVs are road-legal as long as riders are over 16 and wear helmets.

Commenting on the Cleveland case, PC Mike Doherty, of the Coulby Newham neighbourhood policing team, said: “These scooters are not toys, and not only can they be extremely dangerous but they are also not legal to ride on pavements and roads, and I think many parents aren’t aware of this.

“Under the Road Traffic Act we can report the individual rider for not having insurance, a licence, a number plate, helmet and MOT for the scooter.

“This person will then be reported for summons and will be given a minimum of six points on their licence or future licence and a possible fine.”