A CLAMPDOWN on off-road bike riders using the Lickey Hills was officially launched on Thursday as part of a national day of action against rural crime.
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and Sgt Dave King from Bromsgrove Police were at the country park to talk about what was being done to stop the menace that has blighted the local community.
The action is in response to a video which was posted on social media by a dog walker who was verbally abused by one of 20 riders using off-road bikes on the beauty spot.
Another rider then pulled up alongside her and spun his back wheel to cover her in mud.
In the last few weeks the police have been liaising with the Lickey Hills Rangers, using their knowledge and expertise, to earmark the entrances where the riders have been gaining access to the country park.
They will be carrying out targeted operations to clamp down on those who use off-road bikes illegally.
They will be upping patrols in the area and carrying out targeted operations to clamp down on those who flout the law.
Action will be taken under Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act which makes it an offence for any vehicle to be driven on any common land which is not a road.
SmartWater is also going to be used by officers to mark the bikes involved and, if caught, the police will be looking to seize the vehicles and have them crushed.
Sgt King said: “We want the public to be aware we are taking this seriously and have a specific operation in place to target this.
“We have been looking with the Birmingham City Council rangers at the flash points in the Lickey Hills and the best ways we can put out resources towards them to catch the perpetrators.
“This anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated on the Lickey Hills or anywhere else in Bromsgrove district.”
He said there were clubs and places in the West Midlands where people could ride off-road bikes and get help from proper instructors to do so, adding there were also trained first aiders on hand should the worst happen.
Mr Campion said: “We are here in response to local concerns, have put up signage to warn people this should not be happening in this beautiful part of Worcestershire and letting them know we will be taking enforcement action.
“There are dedicated local police officers who have been deployed to work with the community to resolve this problem and we need their help with this.”
He urged the community to make sure they reported incidents when they happened so the police could catch those responsible.
And he reiterated that if a crime is taking place and there is a threat to people or property, residents should call 999 rather than 101.
Ranger Steve Hinton said: “A lot of damage has been done to the park and the golf course by the Rose and Crown and there has been a lot of anti-social behaviour.
“People come here to walk their dogs or play golf in a relaxing environment and they should not have to face the dangers caused by this minority.”
If an incident is happening people should call 999.
Anyone with any information on the illegal use of off-road bikes should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.