Cyflwynwyd: Dydd Gwener 27th Ebrill 2012
Offenders are still travelling to Rhondda Cynon Taf from England in order to “enjoy” off-road riding and driving in the county borough’s beautiful forestry and open spaces.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Community Safety Partnership has delivered a sustained campaign against such activity for a number of years, working to not only tackle and deter offenders, but also promote and reward legal activity.
Part of this work, which involves Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Off Road Enforcement Team, South Wales Police and the Forestry Commission, is regular patrols and operations in “hot spot” areas identified by the community as having an illegal off-road problem.
The latest operation focused on the Rhondda Fach from Tylorstown to Maerdy, where officers were shocked to discover people on motorbikes and in 4x4 vehicles racing around the Tylorstown tip known as “old Smokey”, while members of the public also attempted to enjoy the location with their families and dogs.
The first person to be stopped was a teen from Maerdy who was issued a section 59 warning for riding his bike on Old Smokey. If he or anyone else is caught using the vehicle in such a manner anywhere again, it will be seized.
Identical warnings were given to the drivers of three 4x4 vehicles that arrived at the location, including one driven by a man from England who stated he had come to Wales to enjoy “off road driving” with his friends.
Patrols moved on to Lluest Wen reservoir Maerdy, where a group of some six motorcycles and up to eight 4x4s were seen, but which made off in different directions when they spotted the patrolling officers, driving dangerously on to the public highway to make their escape.
Officers recorded details of the vehicles and continued their patrols, returning to Penrhys where they spotted one of the 4x4s from the Lleust Wen incident, abandoned by a trail and full of half-empty cider and lager bottles and smelling of alcohol.
The vehicle has been recovered for forensic testing. Over the course of the day six riders/drivers of “off road vehicles” were given warnings and two vehicles seized.
Phil Bevan, Head of Community Safety at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “Illegal and inconsiderate off-road biking and driving continues to be a community concern. As such, partners will respond accordingly until offenders get the message.
“We have beautiful landmarks and open spaces that we want to protect for all to enjoy and we certainly will not tolerate offending tourists who come here simply to tear up our open spaces in the name of fun.
“It is illegal and it is endangering the many other people who want to walk and cycle in our open spaces without being disturbed or endangered by such offending.
“The partnership has worked hard to promote legal off-road activity and are pleased to work with Legal Forest Riders, who are granted exclusive access to the forestry and trails as a reward for the way in which they conduct themselves. The group continues to welcome new members, so there really is no excuse to be committing such offences.”
Find out more about Legal Forest Riders by visiting the Legal Forest Riders website