A "THOUGHTLESS driver" spotted off-roading through one of the area’s most vulnerable landscapes has sparked anger amongst environmental champions.

South Walney Nature Reserve is a haven for many species, including hundreds of grey seals and has strict restricted access rules to protect it and yet a motorist was seen off-roading throughout the reserve.

Concerns were initially raised by by Sarah Dalrymple, warden at South Walney Nature Reserve, who spotted a man driving through the middle of the reserve last Thursday .

“It was a beautiful day, only spoiled by a gentleman who thought it was appropriate to ignore the No Entry signs and take his car off-road through the lagoons.

“Sadly such things like this are not as rare as you think.

“The nature reserve has restricted access to protect wildlife. Also, beaches around the reserve are off limits particularly at this time of the year as many of the birds nest on the beach during summer.

“Signs are quite clear regarding access so there was no reason for this man to be off-roading through the reserve.”

Councillor Helen Wall, official spokeswoman for wildlife, heritage and culture at Barrow Council, also spoke strongly about the potential affects of such actions.

“It is just plain wrong - our wildlife is so threatened by everything we do so it is vital that we are aware of how we might affect the whole system.

“There is so need for it - any damage to wildlife, any disruption to nesting birds is not acceptable.”

South Walney county councillor Frank Cassidy said: “The natural habitat near the south end is extremely important for wildlife. There is no access to certain areas and there are plenty of notices explaining why the restrictions are in place.

“I don’t know all the details surrounding this incident but there should be a zero-tolerance policy extended towards any clowns who thinks it’s a giggle to go off-roading through sections of our delicate environment which is home to so many wonderful birds and other animals.”