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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Illegal off-road bikers pose threat to nature reserves

POLICE have warned off-road bikers they will be prosecuted if caught riding illegally in nature reserves.

The message comes as police crack down people taking their vehicles on to Walney's beaches and dunes.

North Walney National Nature Reserve (NNR) has reported a rise in four-wheel drives and motorbikes operating illegally in recent weeks.

Natural England’s senior reserve manager, Steve Benn said: “The small numbers of visitors who carry out illegal activities that disturb wildlife by driving vehicles on the NNR need to be aware that their actions have a negative impact on the reserve and on our local and migratory wildlife.”

The nearby Sandscale Haws NNR has also had a problem, with two motorcycles visiting several times a week.

Neil Forbes, National Trust warden for the reserve, has passed on footage to police highlighting the problem.

Mr Forbes said: “From what we have seen it is mostly the same two individuals but there may well be others.”

He said off-roading is destroying wildlife and threatening ecosystems at a time when they are particularly fragile.

He added: “It’s affecting everybody’s enjoyment of the site. Even when you can’t see them, the noise has an impact.”

The Barrow Borough Neighbourhood Policing Team has agreed to joint patrols of the areas, with wardens to present a united front against the illegal activity.

Sergeant John McIntosh said: “It is antisocial behaviour that can spoil the reserve. We need people’s help so we can put a stop to it.

"North Walney has no green lanes so any off-roading activity on the North Walney reserve is illegal, fullstop.

"For anybody who does use green lanes on other reserves, I would encourage them to drive in a considerate manner with attention and concentration given to other users of that area."

PC Karen Park said: “It’s about making people aware of the problem. People just think they are coming down for a bit of fun, but they don’t realise.”

Anyone who witnesses such behaviour should call the police on 101.

North West Evening Mail What's on search

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