A GROUP of fun, costume-clad motor-bikers have made Vale residents do a double-take as they ride around; hoping to provide smiles and raise money for charity.

The Laughing Lunatics got together in February 2017 and the team now comprises of Elmo, Kermit, Cookie Monster, Animal, Clifford, Kipper, Dudley The Devil Dog, Farmer Dave, Dombie 1 Wheel, Dan The Yam Man, Con-Man, Rogers and Big Dave.

The riders, who prefer to keep their identities a mystery to protect the bikes from theft, range from 17 to 30 years of age and hail from Barry, Llantwit, Newport, Cardiff, Blackwood, Newbridge and the Rhondda.

The group has counted Sully-based children’s hospice Ty Hafan and the Noah’s Ark appeal as charities it has supported through donations collected.

Leader, Elmo said: “I do personally think our group is better than others we know of due to the fact that we need each other in some way.

“Being together makes us happier.

“We have members having social anxiety, depression to the point of suicidal thoughts, bipolar and even cancer, so in a way what we’ve done has helped us all in a way, and we’re also helping others to, even if it’s just to make them smile for a second.”

Dudley, a rider from Barry, said: “Until I met the Lunatics I never had the chance to ride with anyone before so to make friends for life while making people laugh at the same time seems like something I couldn’t turn down.”

Kermit, also of Barry, said: “I had Elmo added on Facebook and passed them a few times in Barry.

“We eventually met up and have been riding together since.

“The group itself has made me happier and has taken my mind off a lot that’s going on in my life right now.

“I can always depend on the Lunatics to cheer me up.”

The group’s usual route takes them from Cardiff to Barry, and then on to Penarth.

They regularly ride through Dinas Powys into Cardiff and other places, usually stopping at Barry Island and The Knap.

They go to Porthkerry Park, and then down to Cosmeston Lake, Penarth Pier, then into Cardiff Bay.

Find them on Facebook page The Laughing Lunatics and crdfrider.co.uk/laughinglunatics