Police stop 64 vehicles as part of operation to tackle illegal riders in Thetford Forest
PUBLISHED: 09:07 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 29 July 2020
More than 60 off-road vehicles were stopped as part of a police operation to tackle illegal quadbike and motorbike use in Thetford Forest.
As part of two-day multi-agency operation ‘RESHAPE20’, police stopped 64 vehicles, following reports of illegal off-road vehicle use.
South Breckland Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Suffolk Rural Crime Team, alongside members of Suffolk Special Constabulary and Norfolk Drone Units, worked with Forestry England on the Norfolk and Suffolk side of the border over a full weekend of high-visibility action.
Officers explained to riders that illegal users can be prosecuted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 or have vehicles, such as quad bikes or off-road bikes, seized under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002.
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PC Les Maguire said: “We used all-terrain and 4x4 vehicles for off-road patrols.
“The intention is to make the forest a no-go zone for illegal riding, which is basically anywhere in the forest which is not a public byway, and use enforcement where applicable to prosecute offenders.”
Many protected species and their habitats are being destroyed and disturbed by people illegally riding motorbikes through fire breaks, which are gaps cleared in the forest to ensure fires do not spread out of control as oppose to legal use of the byways.
PC Maguire added: “Police also spoke with many responsible legal users of byways over the weekend.
“The vast majority were only too happy to speak with us and we welcome their responsible attitude.”
To use the byways with any motor vehicle, the driver or rider must have a road-legal vehicle and be fully insured and use the routes responsibly.
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