Thursday, 29 September 2011

Police re-issue warning about illegal off-roading in the National Park

Cumbria Constabulary is re-issuing a warning about illegal ‘off-road’ driving on the fells and agricultural land, after more incidents occurred in the Northern area of the National Park.

Illegal off-roading had been highlighted as a problem in the Southern area of the National Park, but after incidents had occurred in the North, police, partner agencies and the community have been working together to tackle the issue in all areas.

Police officers have issued warnings to the minority who illegally ride that not only is their activity illegal, dangerous and inconsiderate to other users, it is also causing damage to agricultural land. Important wildlife habitats are being damaged, the activity is causing a disturbance and distress to local communities and the safety of other countryside users and visitors is being compromised.

The message is also being emphasised by trail bike groups has they have built up good relationships with landowners and communities to carry on the long history and tradition of organised events and legal activity in the Lake District National Park.

Pete Barron, a park management ranger for the National Park, said: “We recognise that the vast majority of trail riders take care and ride responsibly and courteously. However, there are a number of riders in Northern Lakes area that get involved in illegal riding.
“We are working with the police, the community and local bike trail groups to try and get the message across, that this will not be tolerated.”

PC Chris Blain said: “Police officers work together with local communities and are part of a multi-agency group to try and reduce the number of incidents and offences being reported to us. We are all committed to combating the issue of irresponsible riders and drivers who take part in illegal off-roading. In the past two weeks, police officers have stopped riders in the Faulds Brow area of Caldbeck, who have been riding illegally and given words of advice.
“We know there will be no quick fixes, but there is a determination across police, local communities and partner agencies to clamp down on this issue because of the danger it presents and the distress it causes.
“Cumbria Police and partner agencies will be out on the fells to detect and report incidents but we also appeal to all walkers to be vigilant and record any details of people you suspect to be riding or driving illegally and report your suspicions to us on 0845 33 00 247.”

Riders are urged to get advice from organised groups such as the Trail Riders Fellowship (http://www.trf.org.uk/) and research where the Green Roads are in the Lake District before heading out onto the fells or in the National Park. This information can be found on the Cumbria County Council Website, under roads and transport http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/public-transport-road-safety/countryside-access/HOTR/Hierarchy_of_Trails_Routes.asp

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