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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Police clamp down on illegal off-road drivers in Barrow

POLICE are clamping down on illegal off-road driving – and caught one offender red-handed.

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caught in the act Police gave the 24-year-old man who drove this vehicle onto Sandsale Hawes a fixed penalty ticket

Officers have received numerous complaints of vehicles off-roading from members of the public throughout Barrow in locations such as the Vulcan Bowl and the nature reserves around the town.

Police said they wanted to remind people that such anti-social behaviour can damage beauty spots and nature reserves.

This was demonstrated by a person who drove onto the sand dunes at Sandscale.

The driver, a 24-year-old man from Barrow, has been prosecuted and given a fixed penalty ticket.

Police concerns were echoed by the wardens of the reserves. The nearby Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve also records regular incidents involving off-road vehicles and motorbikes.

National Trust ranger Neil Forbes, who has passed video and photos to the police highlighting the problem, said: “Since starting joint patrols with the police two years ago we have seen a significant reduction in the number of incidents recorded.

“However, we do still witness damage to extremely fragile sand dune and salt marsh habitats and have even seen rare species like the natterjack toad run over by a vehicle.

“This issue also affects everybody’s enjoyment of the site – even when you can’t see the vehicles the noise has an impact and many visitors tell us that they are concerned for their safety.”

Natural England’s senior reserve manager Steve Benn said: “The small numbers of irresponsible visitors who drive vehicles onto the North Walney NNR need to be aware that their actions are illegal and result in a negative impact on the sensitive habitats and on our local and migratory wildlife.”

PC Karen Park said: “It’s about making people aware of the problem. They don’t realise the damage they cause to this fragile environment.”

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