Police and Crime Commissioner praises police efforts to tackle illegal off-roading

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has praised Gwent Police’s efforts to tackle illegal off-roading across the region.

Illegal off-roading has increased during the pandemic causing significant damage to the countryside, harming grazing animals and putting walkers and other countryside users at risk.

One recent operation saw police seize 15 off road bikes, report 10 people for summons for illegal riding and arrest a person for dangerous driving. A further joint initiative with South Wales and Dyfed Powys Police saw six men from Coventry issued with Covid-19 fixed penalty notices after they travelled to the Trefil Quarry in Blaenau Gwent with the intention of using scrambler bikes.

Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said: “Illegal off-roading is often seen as a victimless crime but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As well as the damage to the countryside, illegal off roaders regularly cause injury and distress to grazing animals and disrupt farming activity, which is a real cause of concern to our farmers and rural communities.

“Many of these vehicles are uninsured, untaxed and shouldn’t be ridden on the roads, meaning normal road users are also being put at risk.

“It is an incredibly hard crime to police and current police powers to take preventative measures are limited. However, by working with our partners and neighbouring police forces we are taking action and sending a clear message that this activity will not be tolerated here in Gwent.”

Inspector Aled George, the force lead on illegal off-road biking, said: “Gwent Police runs zero tolerance operations to respond to illegal off-road biking in our communities, and we often support partner agencies in similar activities to tackle this issue together.

“Illegal off-road biking is never acceptable. This type of activity not only causes massive environmental damage to our beautiful countryside but affects the lives of those who live there.

“We’re committed to tackling this issue across all areas of the force. If you have any information about illegal off-road biking in your community, report to it us via 101 or our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.”

Residents who suspect someone is using an off-road bike illegally can report information anonymously to Gwent Police via 101. In an emergency always call 999.