The carefully planned raid involved Dyfed-Powys Police Officers working alongside Wardens from Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority and the Off-Road Enforcement Team from Powys Community Safety Partnership to execute a surprise sting operation at Trefil Quarry at lunchtime on Sunday.
Experienced motorcycle riders from the Off-Road Enforcement Team and the police surrounded the quarry and funnelled people illegally using quad bikes and trail bikes towards a police barrier, where their bikes were seized and inspected. Several riders tried to evade the police by taking their bikes across the protected open common that surrounded the quarry but were followed by a police helicopter and later apprehended by police riders.
More than 20 people were issued with formal warnings and others were reported for not having licences, proper insurance and illegal registration plates. Four people were reported for the serious crime of riding on Common Land.
Superintendent Huw Meredith from Dyfed Powys Police Authority said: “We hope that the action at Trefil Quarry this weekend will send a strong message that we will not tolerate illegal off-roading in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. Trefil Quarry is not a legitimate place to go off-roading and there was a real lack of safety shown by those who using their motorcycles there.
“Many of the riders are on bikes and quads which are not properly licensed or are driving without insurance.
“Riders who want to keep within the realms of the law should contact their Local Rights of Way Officer for information on where they can ride or join one of the organisations representing riders such as Land Access and Recreation Association, Trail Riders Federation, Green Lane Association or the Countryside Recreational Access Group.”
Councilor Graham Brown, Chairman of the Powys Community Safety Partnership said: “We want to stop illegal off-roading before someone gets hurt again. There are a number of managed sites where you can ‘pay and play’ on a daily or hourly basis. These are the best places to start learning how to drive ‘off road’. With experience, the next step is often into competitive ‘trialling’ where you can pit your skills against others on a pre set course, would-be riders can join a local club.”
Jon Pimm, Warden with responsibility for discouraging illegal off-roading in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, said: “Residents and visitors alike hate the impact that illegal off-roading has on countryside and our protected landscapes. As an organisation we receive many reports of illegal off-roading every week which we pass on to our colleagues in the Police. This was a highly successful operation and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Dyfed Powys Police and Powys Community Safety Partnership. We certainly hope to conduct more joint operations in the future.
“I would reinforce the police message that those who want to pursue this activity legally should contact the Rights of Way Officer or join one of the organisations. Anyone who wants to report illegal off-roading in the National Park can do so via the form on our website www.breconbeacons.org ”