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Police target off-road motorbike riders

OFF-ROAD motorcyclists who ride in Plymouth Great Woods are being targeted by police.

The woodland which stretches from Ely to St Fagans and along to Fairwater is all under private ownership by a number of individuals and organisations.

Police are concerned that a number of people are still using the area for anti-social purposes – particularly riding off road motorbikes – after complaints from residents.

Angharad Thomas, who lives in Ely, said: “I have witnessed this behaviour and been subjected to anti-social and dangerous off-road bikes. I am still waiting for the reply from South Wales Police that we were promised on the night I attended a PACT meeting to discuss the issue.”

Police Constable Alexandra Bourner confirmed that officers were targeting the woods in response to the complaints.

She said: “There is a widely held misconception that people have permission to access this land, riding motorcycles, dog walking and other activities where ever they wish.

“This is not the case. We are continuing to work with the landowners and our partners in the local authority to stop the illegal and irresponsible use of off-road vehicles in the area and this can lead to the seizure and possible destruction of any vehicles involved.”

However, some locals believe that a lack of facilities is not helping the current situation.

Gareth Dommett, 36, a carer from Bromley Drive, Ely, said: “There should be some land locally for the youngsters in the Ely area. They need something to do with their time, without that they often turn to stealing and drugs.”

Ben Collins, 29, a bike enthusiastic from Heol Muston, Ely, spoke up for off-road motorcyclists who face negative perceptions of their sport.

He said: “It seems to be that if you own an off-road bike you are labelled a troublemaker or anti-social and that just isn’t the case.

“There is a lot of bad feedback for this sport but there is a great side that not all people see. With the right people and the right attitude it can be great fun.”

Measures have been taken to improve security on the land and officers continue to provide advice to landowners regarding further steps they can take to prevent unauthorised vehicles from gaining access.

Officers are asking anyone who experiences anti-social behaviour as a result of the improper use of off-road motorcycles to contact police on 101 or to speak to their neighbourhood watch officers with any details.

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