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Anti-social riders who blight rural beauty-spots targeted by police and ranger operation

Last modified: 24 May 2016 at 02:31pm

A joint operation to clamp down on anti-social off-road vehicle use has been launched by North Yorkshire Police and the North York Moors National Park Rangers.

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The operation follows complaints from members of the public about off-road motorcyclists riding irresponsibly in areas of the national park near Stokesley and Great Ayton.

On Sunday 31 January, officers from Stokesley Police joined forces with National Park Rangers, and stopped several groups of people riding off-road motorcycles on trails and roads in the area.

The majority of those spoken to were riding legal machines on authorised routes, and were fully supportive of the operation.

However, one rider was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle after the motorcycle he was riding was found to be stolen from the Edinburgh area. A second machine was seized by police and the rider reported for summons after being ridden on a public road without a valid driving licence, insurance, MOT or tax.

Irresponsible use of off-road motor vehicles puts members of the public at risk, and causes damage to land, particularly in the wake of the recent bad weather.

Similar operations are also taking place in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Sergeant Nick Hill, of Stokesley Police, said: “Over recent months we have received a number of complaints from the public about off-road motorcyclists riding irresponsibly and on country footpaths, bridleways and forestry tracks. This sort of behaviour cannot be allowed to continue and causes danger to walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders out trying to enjoy these areas.

“It was pleasing to find that the majority of off-road motorcyclists we spoke to during the operation were riding legal machines on authorised routes and were fully supportive of our actions.

“It was also evident that a small proportion of off-road motorcyclists pay no regard to the law on where to ride their machines, how they ride them and the effect their actions have on others. It is these people we are targeting – those who are not only behaving anti-socially but are also giving the thousands of law-abiding off-road motorcyclists a bad name.

“Over the coming weeks there will be further patrols by police and rangers in the area, so I advise everyone using off-road motor vehicles to plan their routes to ensure they are on legal routes and that they have permission of land owners if on private land.”

Senior Ranger (west) Simon Bassindale said: “We are working closely with the police and landowners across the National Park to combat illegal riding, so it is encouraging to have had such a positive result on Sunday.”

2 February 2016

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