Following a spate of off-road vehicle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Northumberland area, police are setting up a multi-agency response with partners including Northumberland County Council, Forestry England, Natural England, Northumberland National Park Authority, Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and Green Lane Association (GLASS).
This activity included Operation Harley on February 2, where high visibility patrols were conducted in Otterburn and Kielder Forest whereby officers, alongside partners, spoke to individuals involved and educated them on the dangers of being on restricted roads and promoted good practice.
As part of ongoing activity to tackle the problem officers are also working closely with the local Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) to educate riders around where is safe and legal to ride as well as deter the minority of riders who are causing disruption and damage to protected forest and moorland areas.
Kielder, Slaley, Redesdale and Allenheads are some of the areas being impacted by the disorder and Neighbourhood Inspector Pam Bridges said how important the continued work is.
She said: “It is important we work alongside partners to tackle this issue effectively and efficiently.
“We want to reassure communities that this sort of disorder will not be tolerated on or off our roads and we will continue to carry out police operations and initiatives to tackle these incidents and ensure those responsible are dealt with accordingly.
“If a member of the public does see any unlawful off-road vehicle disorder, then please note as much information as possible whilst staying safe and avoiding any confrontation. Try and get any registration plates, descriptions of vehicles or people involved and specific locations and where possible record any offences.”
Alex MacLennan, Public Affairs Manager for the North East for Forestry England, said: “Forestry England are fully supportive of the collaborative working with other agencies and Northumbria Police on tackling this serious issue where the countryside is damaged.
“It is frustrating the time and effort that goes into managing the Northumberland countryside as we all work to encourage responsible tourism for the countryside to be damaged by those who have a disregard for any consideration of the landscape and wildlife habitats.
“Forestry England does support access into the forest through organised events which are delivered with also protecting the landscape measures in place and again this year there are several motorbike events taking place legally but all of those are permitted through detailed planning in advance for sustainable events to take place.”
Officers are also reaching out to gamekeepers and land owners to get in touch with police and report any sightings of off-road vehicle disorder or any wider concerns about the issue.
Anyone with any concerns, or who wants to report an incident, should contact police via 101 or online through our website.