Northumbria Police has advised parents against buying mini motos for their children at Christmas, unless they have a safe and legal place to ride them.
As they are motor vehicles they must be taxed, insured and, if over three years old, have a valid MoT certificate.
Otherwise they can only be ridden off-road on private land with the landowner's permission.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said that people should think carefully and not make an expensive mistake.
He said: "It's important people know they are not toys. They are motor vehicles and should be treated as such.
"It could be a Christmas present which can't be used properly or safely."