After liaising closely with the local community National Park Authority wardens teamed up with Dyfed Powys Police to organise a joint operation to apprehend 4x4s and bikes off-roading through protected countryside in the National Park.
During the seven hour operation ‘spotters’ positioned at key observation points tipped off the National Park Wardens and Police the whereabouts of the offenders and they were duly stopped.
The Police cautioned the drivers of five motorcycles and six 4x4s and called in air support when one of the 4x4s attempted to evade the police by driving around the open moorland. The driver finally gave himself up when he realised that two police helicopters had his every move covered.
Sam Ridge, Assistant Area Warden for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said: “The National Park Authority and the Police are committed to stopping illegal off-roaders in their tracks and we plan to repeat this operation at known trouble spots over the coming months. We want bikers and 4×4 drivers to realise that the National Park is not the place to bring their vehicles. There are plenty of legal places to pursue this activity but the Park isn’t one of them.
“The wardens receive more complaints about illegal off-roading than anything else. The vehicles and bikes cause considerable damage to the landscape destroying the areas they pass through, upsetting and endangering the legal users of bridleways and footpaths. It is surprising how noisy these machines are and they cause considerable distress to residents and visitors trying to enjoy the tranquility of the park.”
Liz Daniels from Bannau Brycheiniog Holiday Cottages expressed her concern saying:
“Most of our visitors show their personal commitment to maintaining the rights of way in the Park by making a contribution to a charity that repairs the local foot paths. Imagine how they feel when they see what damage the illegal off roaders have done. Recently visitors have commented on how rutted the footpaths are becoming – you can often see the tyre marks showing that illegal off-roaders have caused the ruts.”
PC Owen Dillon who co-ordinated the operation for Dyfed Powys Police said:
“This joint operation has resulted in six 4×4 vehicles, five motorbikes and one car being reported under Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 for illegal off-roading. The driver who failed to stop initially will be reported under section 34 of the Road Traffic Act, Section 59 of the Police Reform Act and also for failure to stop for a police officer in uniform. This will result in his vehicle being seized and taken away if it is caught driving anywhere illegally over the next 12 months.
“Our advice to those thinking of illegally scrambling within the National Park is ‘Don’t do it!’. These operations will continue throughout the summer months, so it’s just not worth getting a police record for or losing your bike or 4×4 over.”
If you would like to report an incident involving illegal off-roading please contact Dyfed Powys Police on 0845 330 2000 with as much information as possible.