Police target illegal off-roaders

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Illegal off-roaders are being targeted by police and countryside official following a number of incidents and complaints.

People driving trail bikes and 4x4s illegally on footpaths, bridle paths and open ground are accused of causing damage and putting safety at risk.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the public have been threatened with violence after challenging drivers.

More patrols and new gates are being fitted to tackle the problem.

NRW's Dyfi forest area manager, Robert Williams, said staff have been working with Dyfed Powys and North Wales Police, landowners and local people to "identify how, where and when off-road bikes are entering the forest".

'Devastating'

North Wales Police have issued 10 anti-social driving notices in 2014 meaning a vehicle can be seized and even crushed if offending continues.

Sgt Rob Taylor, of North Wales Police rural crime team, said: "The damage that can be caused by off-roading is devastating and it can sometimes take quite a number of years for the areas to recover."

Authorities also want to stop paths being damaged at Mathrafal woods, near Welshpool, Powys which is popular with walkers and horse riders.

Earlier this month, South Wales Police seized one motorbike and gave out five warnings for anti-social driving in the forests around Maesteg, Bridgend.

Michael Cresswell, Coed y Cymoedd woodland manager for NRW, said: "Not only do illegal vehicles disturb the tranquillity of the forest but they also pose a danger to others and themselves, damage trees and paths, increase flood risk for local communities by damaging streams and drains and disturb plants and animals."

Witnesses to illegal off-roading are asked to call police on 101.

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