21 Jul 2020
POLICE are clamping down on illegal off-roaders in rural areas after a number of complaints and near misses with walkers over the weekend.
Dyfed-Powys Police received several reports of off-road motorbikes being ridden illegally in Nant yr Arian forestry, near Aberystwyth, and Dyffryn Crawnon, near Brecon, on Sunday, July 19.
Among the reports were complaints of off-roaders riding recklessly on footpaths and biking trails, with near-misses leaving walkers concerned for the safety of visitors to the area.
Natural Resources Wales staff also reported wild campers leaving significant amounts of rubbish behind.
Aberystwyth Sergeant David Hawksworth said: “In response to these concerns, officers from Aberystwyth Response Team, Ceredigion Rural Crime Team and the Roads Policing Unit, in conjunction with staff from NRW, carried out a proactive operation to tackle the problem of illegal off-roading.
“During the course of the day, we located and dealt with more than 30 off road bikers, as well as a party of wild campers who were responsible for damage to the trail network and failing to dispose of refuse.
“This is an example of Dyfed Powys Police’s commitment to working with our partners to safeguard both visitors and residents, and to preserve our beautiful countryside for those who come to enjoy it.”
A multi-agency day of action also took place in Dyffryn Crawnon to disrupt illegal off-roading in the Brecon Beacons National Park following a number of complaints in recent months.
Breconshire Neighbourhood Policing Team and Powys Rural Crime Team worked with BBNP wardens, volunteers and NRW on Sunday, speaking with residents and visitors to highlight the issue.
Around 45 scramblers and off-road bikes, and two 4x4 vehicles were spotted in the area, and enforcement resulted in six warning being issued, as well as a small quantity of cannabis being seized.
Sgt Hawksworth said: “While we appreciate that people want to come and enjoy the beautiful countryside we’re lucky to police here in Dyfed-Powys, we ask that they respect the area and leave it as they found it.
“We’d like to remind all members of the public – both those who live in these areas, and who travel here – that antisocial behaviour, littering, and reckless or illegal use of off road vehicles will not be tolerated.
“We want everyone to enjoy the beautiful unspoilt environment safely, responsibly and lawfully, and as a result our officers will respond robustly to any reports of illegal or antisocial behaviour which damages the environment or threatens the safety or enjoyment of others.”
Andy Rendell, of Natural Resources Wales, said: “Now that travel restrictions have been eased across Wales, we are seeing an increase in visitor numbers at our sites.
"We’ve had to take special measures and carry out safety checks to be able to re-open to visitors. Riding motor vehicles on footpaths, bridleways and purpose built mountain bike trails is illegal, dangerous and unacceptable, so clamping down on illegal off-roaders is vitally important to make sure that our visitors can remain safe during their visit.
“Working with Dyfed-Powys Police, we were able to target specific hotspots and take proactive action, as well as issue reminders to people to respect the area, behave responsibly and help look after our beautiful countryside by disposing of their litter appropriately.
“This robust approach is also about protecting the environment, nature and wildlife on our sites. Illegal off-roading can damage those environments causing destruction that might take years to repair, if repair is possible at all.
“Please respect the Countryside Code; leave nothing behind you and treat others the way you would like to be treated.”