Thousands of old and disused motorcycles have been thrown away, creating a huge mountain of scrap metal in south China.

Photographs reveal a huge tangled mess of hogs and off-road bikes, littering every empty area of ground next to the major bypass road under the Nantou Toll Bridge expressway in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

The bikes were confiscated by the Shenzhen police under the strictest motorbike rules ever introduced. The city of Shenzhen has also been tightening laws to combat illegally operated or unregistered side cars on motorbikes. Starting from this month, the ban will apply to motorised tricycles too – a very popular mode of transport in China.

Almost 18,000 vehicles have been detained within the city in just 11 days. A leaked document from the local police authority suggested that officers are being awarded cash bonuses for each detention, which explains the huge success of the new crackdown.

Last March there were 100,000 vehicles piled up in a single scrapyard in Hangzhou after being taken off the road because they did not meet the national emissions standards to remain on the road.

A recent report suggests that there is likely to be some 16 million vehicles ready for the scrap heap in China by 2020.

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