Off-road bikers damage common land in Hartley Wintney

Basingstoke Gazette: Off-road bikers damage common land in Hartley Wintney Off-road bikers damage common land in Hartley Wintney

OFF-ROAD motorcycle and quad bike riders are causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to common land in Hartley Wintney – and there have also been reports of near misses with walkers and dogs.

A joint warning issued by Hampshire Constabulary, Hart District Council and the Safer North Hampshire community safety team has urged members of the public to report any quad bikes and motorcycles they see to the police.

David Lipscombe, community safety projects team leader for Safer North Hampshire, said riders are damaging footpaths in woodland in West Green Common.

He added: “There are a number of organised off-road motorbike and quad biking clubs in Hampshire and the surrounding area, and we would encourage riders to seek these out rather than continually damaging common land, as well as endangering members of the public.”

Mr Lipscombe put the cost of repairing some of the paths as at more than £10,000, and said that barriers might need to be used to stop vehicles being used on the common.

Steve Lyons, countryside ranger at Hart District Council, said: “The irresponsible actions of a few individuals riding illegally is dangerous to the public enjoying open spaces responsibly, and causes damage to paths, plants and wildlife habitat.

“Motorised vehicle access is not allowed to Hart commons under byelaws unless to do with the maintenance and upkeep of the sites or for disabled access.”

Anyone who sees a motorbike or quad bike being ridden on common land is asked to call 101, with a description of the bike, including colour and any number plate, and the person riding it. They are not to confront the rider.

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